Swiss Jolanda Annen executed an almost perfect race to claim in Weihai her second World Cup victory of the year. She was among the first three out of the water after the 1500-meter swim in the Halfmoon Bay, only accompanied by four other great swimmers: Gorbunova, Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN), Emma Jackson and France’s Cassandra Beaugrand. Gorbunova, a Junior Aquathlon World Champion, imposed in fact a frantic rhythm on the swim, enough to grant the five women a small lead to start the bike segment.
With the five of them working from minute one to build up a great difference with the chasers, Beaugrand was not able to keep up with the pace, and lost almost 20 seconds on the second lap, more than one minute in the third and was dragged by the huge chase group the following one. By then, the four leaders rode really strong up the hills of the coastal city of Weihai, with the chasers more than two minutes behind.
All the efforts of those chasers, led by Lisa Perterer (AUT) and Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) were in vain. They arrived in the second transition more than two minutes behind the four leaders, a distance that seemed impossible to catch on a 10-kilometer run.
Annen didn’t want to take any risks, and took the lead since the first meters of the run, opening a gap with Jackson and Gorbunova that kept increasing lap after lap. The Swiss, 5th in two WTS races this season -Hamburg and Edmonton- and winner in the Cagliari World Cup showed her class leaving all her contendents behind and ended up crossing the finish line all by herself, with 50 seconds lead in front of Jackson. For the Aussie, winner this year in Mooloolaba World Cup, her second place in Weihai means a giant step on her road to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, while for the third women on the podium, Anastasia Gorbunoba, this means her first ever World Cup podium.
photos Janos Schmidt