Sunday, May 3, 2009

Emma "Snowy" Snowsill takes Tongyeong

Australia's Emma Snowsill tops the Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series standings after crossing the line in 2:02:42 at race one in Tongyeong, Korea.

The Beijing Olympic Games gold medallist placed strongly throughout the swim and bike before overtaking compatriot Emma Moffatt late on the 10km run to win by ten seconds.

Beijing bronze medallist Moffatt held on for an excellent second with last weekend's Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup winner, Juri Ide from Japan, finishing third as she out-sprinted Canada's Kathy Tremblay and Kirsten Sweetland for the final podium position in the $150,000 prize money race.

The 1500m two lap swim was led out by American super-swimmer Sara McLarty with Emma Moffatt stuck to her heels. The American cruised through the water and kept her unbeaten record in the swim at ITU events with a rapid 19:13 clocking. Britain’s Jodie Swallow and Canada’s Kirsten Sweetland headed the rest of the field with Emma Snowsill in close contention.

Moffatt looked to make the most of the early advantage and tried to instigate a breakaway, but McLarty failed to hold onto her wheel, leaving the Australian out in front. Moffatt soon realised the futility of trying to stay away and allowed the chasing pack, led by Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf, to catch her. They were joined by the second chase pack as Samantha Warriner from New Zealand pulled Canadian Lauren Groves up to the front of the race.

Reigning world champion, Helen Jenkins from Wales, and France’s Jessica Harrison looked to start a breakaway, but were reeled back in, keeping the bike stage in regulation until the penultimate lap when Warriner was brought down as she was knocked whilst taking a drink. The Kiwi quickly remounted and powered her way back up to the leaders whilst compatriot Debbie Tanner closed the chase pack’s deficit to 45 seconds.

At the head of the race a determined Moffatt stormed through second transition as she looked to put distance between her and the rest of the field. Snowsill had a poor transition and found herself towards the back, but had worked her way up to head the chasers after just one kilometre of running. Snowsill then set about reeling in her training partner and caught Moffatt after 5km. The Aussie pair then duelled throughout the final lap until the Olympic gold medallist stole a few metres in the final kilometre and eventually pulled away to a ten second victory.

Despite the win Snowsill was in no doubt that an early season injury had set her back.

"I got to have a little bit of fun after the Olympic Games and I decided to teach myself how to surf and unfortunately I cracked a rib when I fell off and my board hit me at the start of the year,” she said. “It's been a long time since I raced and there's something about racing that you just can't get in training. I was really pushed today and Emma is a training partner of mine. It was really tough but it allowed me to see where I am at in terms of fitness.”

Winning is nothing new for Snowsill who has amassed three World Championship titles and a Commonwealth Games gold alongside her Beijing Olympic Games success. The Aussie is now looking forward to the rest of the series and the opportunities the new Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series brings.

"This was the first one in the series and so the attention is going to build as we progress through to the next races. There's more prize money, more sponsors, live TV and that's not happening in a lot of sports, so it is fortunate to be happening to us. You will next see me in Washington for the third leg of the series, but first I’ll get another block of training in and let myself recover from this.”

Moffatt was pleased with her second place finish having been to the fore throughout all three disciplines, including strong starts on the bike and run that took her away from the field.

"Everything went to plan for me and I felt really good out there. I always like to go out and try as hard as I can within reason, but I saved myself for the run on the bike and that was tactical," she said. "I knew Emma was there and it felt like a Sunday morning training run. It is always good to have an aim and she is definitely the mark in the sport at the moment."

Further back Japan’s Juri Ide sprinted away from Canada’s Kathy Tremblay for the bronze medal in a repeat of the finish for the gold medal at the Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup the previous week. Kirsten Sweetland put two Canadians in the top five with fifth place.

Ide was delighted to finish with back to back top three finishes, but has high aspirations for the rest of the year.

"I am happy with today but next time I hope to get the championship trophy," she said. "I train hard but many people give me love, which is better."

Elite Women - Official Results
Gold - Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:02:42
Silver - Emma Moffatt (AUS) 2:02:52 +0:10
Bronze - Juri Ide (JPN) 2:03:30 +0:48
4th - Kathy Tremblay (CAN) 2:03:32 +0:50
5th - Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) 2:03:39 +0:57
6th - Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) 2:03:56 +1:14
7th - Magali Di Marco Messmer (SUI) 2:04:07 +1:25
8th - Samantha Warriner (NZL) 2:04:25 +1:43
9th - Vendula Frintova (CZE) 2:04:26 +1:44
10th - Lauren Groves (CAN) 2:04:27 +1:45

Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Rankings
After Race One of Eight
1. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 800pts
2. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 740pts
3. Juri Ide (JPN) 685pts
4. Kathy Tremblay (CAN) 633pts
5. Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) 586pts

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