It was a great start to the 2010 World Cup season for reigning ITU Duathlon World Champion Vendula Frintova of the Czech Republic. Frintova swept to victory here in Mooloolaba today, narrowly outpacing Japan’s Tomoko Sakimoto and Great Britain’s Liz Blatchford.
In a race that also doubled as the Australian Championships, West Australia’s Felicity Sheedy-Ryan was the first of the locals home to claim the Australian title.
Steamy conditions greeted 42 of the top women in the first ITU World Cup womens event for 2010. American veteran Laura Bennett immediately charged to the front of the pack, accompanied by countrywoman Sarah Groff, Britain’s Liz Blatchford and Australia’s Melissa Trims.
Bennett continued to string the group out through the 1.5km swim, and by the time the top women exited the water, there were two distinct groups. Bennett led the first group out of the water in 20:40. Noticeably absent from the lead group at the first transition was defending race winner Kirsten Sweetland of Canada.
The first chase group caught the leaders on lap two of the bike and started to pull away from the pack of 12 girls behind them. At the end of lap two, the chase pack, which included Sweetland, was 90 seconds behind the leaders.
Blatchford and Jodie Stimpson (GBR), took charge of the lead group on lap three and continued to put time into the chasers. Frintova led the second group with Sweetland right on her wheel. The pace of the leaders slowed as the women made their way onto the final lap of the bike and the chase group, now led by Sweetland, began making up time.
Bennett led into the second transition and charged out onto the four-lap run course with a narrow lead on the big group behind her. Just behind the American were Stimpson, New Zealand’s Debbie Tanner and Canadian Kathy Tremblay. Frintova led the next group of women into transition only 30 seconds, accompanied by Sweetland and a group of 10 other girls.
Five kilometres into the run, a lead group of six women had emerged, led by South Africa’s Kate Roberts. Keeping Roberts company were Stimpson, Sakimoto, Blatchford, Tanner and the Netherland’s Lisa Mensink. Frintova had pulled to within 25 seconds of the leaders at the halfway point of the run.
With just one lap to go, Frintova pulled up to within 10 seconds of Sakimoto and Blatchford, who were know alone at the front. The three women eventually came together momentarily, before Frintova put on a surge and pulled away to her first World Cup victory.
“I didn’t have a great swim. I had to work hard on the bike. I was in the second group, 30-40 seconds behind and tried to close the gap so I knew I had to run my best and hope I could do it.
“The course was really hard; every lap was harder and harder. I am the first Czech women to win a World Cup. I have come second three times.
I am training hard and setting new goals for 2012 London Olympics.
I have been training with Australian Darren Smith in Canberra for five months. He is the best triathlon coach in the world and we have a great squad.
The Czech stopped the clock in 2:03:16 after posting a day’s best 35:54 run. Frintova finished just 16 seconds ahead of Sakimoto, who earned her first World Cup podium of her career. Blatchford hung on for third, finishing another 16 seconds behind Sakimoto.
This was Blatchford’s best result here since the ITU World Cup inclusion to the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival in 2005.
“I’m happy today, this is my 10th Mooloolaba triathlon. I’ve been training well but until you put it into a race you never know. The last three kilometres was just survival for me just to get around the course and I managed to finish third,” said Blatchford.
“I’ve changed my training and workload around having had many years of injury and now being more careful and technical about things. It allows me to keep working and therefore be consistent. This is a good lead in and confidence builder for Sydney,” she added.
1. Vendula Frintova (CZE) 2:03:15
2. Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN) 2:03:17
3. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:03:43
4. Kate Roberts (RSA) 2:04:04
5. Sarah Groff (USA) 2:04:19
6. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 2:04:20
7. Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) 2:04:22
8. Ainhoa Murua (ESP) 2:04:26
9. Lisa Mensink (NED) 2:04:35
10. Debbie Tanner (NZL) 2:04:36