Tilda Mansson Wins in Thrilling Wollongong World Triathlon Cup

Swedish star Tilda Mansson, 19, edged out a world-class field in a sprint finish to win the technically demanding World Triathlon Cup in Wollongong.

Tilda Mansson Wins in Thrilling Wollongong World Triathlon Cup

A windy and occasionally wet Wollongong greeted a high quality women's field for the World Triathlon Cup. The conditions added challenge to the sprint distance event (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run), featuring short and sharp hills on both the bike and run. Wollongong made its debut on the World Triathlon circuit with this demanding course that had it all.

Amongst the 32-strong field were the experienced Rachel Klamer from The Netherlands, already qualified for her 4th Olympics in Paris, 19 year old Swedish star Tilda Mansson, with 2 World Cup victories and aiming for her 1st Olympics, and Great Britain's Sian Rainsley, the winner of the last World Cup event in Hong Kong.

Australia was particularly well represented with eight women competing, including the in-form Ellie Hoitink and Richelle Hill, both coming off highly successful results at the Oceania Triathlon Championships in New Zealand the week prior.


Australia's Emma Jeffcoat, one of the best swimmers on the circuit, moved quickly to the front on the 1 lap swim, with a semi-single file of women developing behind her. A gap opened in the middle of the group around the 500 metre mark, with Jeffcoat maintaining her lead to the swim finish.

In close pursuit into transition were Canadian Sophie Howell, Rainsley, Australian Tara Sosinski, Czech Tereza Zimovjanova and Italian Sharon Spima. However, they were not able to open a big enough gap to get on their bikes alone.


Out of transition and a 7-strong lead group quickly formed, but before the athletes faced the first climb up the famous Wollongong lighthouse, two thirds of the field came together.

Falling rain and slippery conditions didn't seems to alter intensity or strategy at the front, with frequent attempts to push the pace, especially up the punchy climbs. The large group managed to navigate the technical course carefully, only dropping a few athletes.

By lap 3 of the 5 lap course, the front group had swelled to 25. With 26 at the front through lap 4 and into lap 5, the scene was set for a gripping run finale.


Every second now critical, Slovakian Romana Gajdosova took the lead out of transition, but was quickly overtaken by Hoitink, New Zealander Ainsley Thorpe, Klamer, Erica Hawley of Bermuda, Mansson, Poland's Roksana Slupek and Colombian Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto.

The lead group of 7 ran shoulder-to-shoulder, with frequent lead changes as the pace increased up the challenging lighthouse hill. Klamer and Hawley were particularly prominent at the front.

As the finish line approached, Hoitink slipped off the back. Klamer then made her move, but was unable to shake Mansson, Velasquez and Thorpe.

In a thrilling sprint finish, Mansson found an extra gear and outsprinted Velasquez (2nd), Thorpe (3rd) and Klamer (4th) to claim her third World Cup victory, all decided by mere centimetres. Hawley rounded out the top 5, with all five athletes crossing the line within 4 seconds. Slupek, Hoitink, Jolanda Annen of Switzerland, Gaidosova and Rainsley completed the top ten in this exceptional race.