Proving that they are not just strong triathletes, but strong duathletes as well, USA’s Renee Tomlin and France’s Vincent Luis dominated their way to victory at the 2018 Sarasota-Bradenton ITU World Cup.
After the race format was changed to a Duathlon, the elites showcased their talents out of the water in the second edition of the event and only World Cup race held in the United States.
Tomlin’s win was an entertaining victory as she won in a sprint finish in the final moments, where then compatriot Kirsten Kasper came second and Vendula Frintova (CZE) took bronze in the women’s race.
Under sunny conditions, the women lined up to begin the day of racing by toeing a different type of World Cup line. Starting with running shoes on instead of swim caps, the field kicked off the sprint-distance Duathlon.
The race began with a 2.5-kilometre lap into the first transition. While many of the athletes on the start list had not competed in this type of race format before, their energy was evident as nearly the whole field remained together during the first leg.
Surviving the busy T1, the women embarked on the short bike course of only 18.3 kilometres. After one lap, a larger-sized lead group formed tallying just under 30 women in total and was led by USA’s Taylor Spivey. She continued her push out front, with the help of compatriot Chelsea Burns and Canadian Joanna Brown keeping the pace. However, all the top players were right in the mix as no the only woman to attempt a breakaway was Alice Betto of Italy and unfortunately it was deemed unsuccessful.
The group never dwindled down and they entered the second transition the same way they entered the first, crowded.
Kirsten Kasper caught the edge through the chaos and made it first through transition and onto the second run leg.
On the first lap of the final run leg, the pack that had cycled together was cut in half and the leading run group made it down to about 12 women including Kasper, Vendula, Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP), Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR), Brown, Spivey, Tomlin and Lisa Perterer (AUT).
That group did not change for the majority of the bell lap, until the final kilometres. Down to the carpet, Tomlin then found the last push to seize the tape and earn her first World Cup win of the year. The gold was her fourth World Cup victory of her career.
Sprinting just behind her was compatriot Kasper to claim the silver and Frintova to take the bronze.