Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bennett Grabs Gold in Des Moines

Local favourite Laura Bennett of the United States has just won the 2007 Des Moines BG Triathlon World Cup, taking home a record US$200,000 in prize money and another US$60,000 plus in prizes, including a new car. Bennett finished with a time of 2 hours 4 minutes and 32 seconds. Former world cup champion Annabel Luxford of Australia managed to hold on to second place 14 seconds back. Mariana Ohata of Brazil finished third a further 43 seconds back, climbing back from a two minute deficit after the bike.

The record-breaking prize purse was thanks to the dedicated work of presenting sponsor, American grocer Hy-Vee.

A 1:30pm start time met the 42 Elite women with 34 degree Celsius temperatures and 54% humidity under clear skies. By the end of the day’s racing only 26 women would cross the finish line, many succumbing to the hot and treacherous conditions.

Bennett would join a small break-away early on the bike, gaining a 2 minute and 46 second lead by the end of the 42-kilometre, challenging bike course. This lead group of eight women contained many of the top cyclists in the sport such as; Bennett, Luxford, Jessica Harrison of France, Kirsten Sweetland of Canada and another four Americans, Sarah Haskins, Sara McLarty, Julie Swail and Joanna Zeiger.

This group worked flawlessly over the 6-lap, hilly and windy bike course building an insurmountable lead over many of the sports top contenders including; the Aussie contingent of current world champion Emma Snowsill of Australia, world number two ranked Erin Densham and world bronze medalist Felicity Abram; the strong Kiwi duo of Debbie Tanner and Samantha Warriner; as well as the Great Britain team of Michelle Dillon and Andrea Whitcombe.

Early into the 10-kilometre run, many race favourites began to drop like flies. First was Joelle Franzmann of Germany, next would be Densham, then Snowsill, Di Marco Messmer, Zeiger and Lauren Groves of Canada. Current world Junior champion, Sweetland would run with Bennett and Luxford for the first nine kilometres before running out of gas, collapsing to the ground with only one kilometre to go. This would enable a fast approaching Ohata to run her way from the chase group and onto the podium. Ohata’s run split was the fastest on the day by almost 2 minutes.

Rounding out the top five was Sarah Haskins of the United States and Andrea Whitcombe of Great Britain.

2007 Des Moines BG Triathlon World Cup – Elite Women results
1. BENNETT, Laura (USA) 2:04:32
2. LUXFORD, Annabel (AUS) 2:04:46 +:14
3. OHATA, Mariana (BRA) 2:05:29 +:57
4. HASKINS, Sarah (USA) 2:05:47 +1:15
5. WHITCOMBE, Andrea (GBR)2:05:51 +1:19
6. HARRISON, Jessica (FRA) 2:05:55 +1:23
7. NIWATA, Kiyomi (JPN) 2:06:13 +1:41
8. MOFFATT, Emma (AUS) 2:06:26 +1:54
9. TANNER, Debbie (NZL) 2:06:48 +2:16
10. DILLON, Michelle (GBR) 2:07:22 +2:50

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