The 2012 ITU Triathlon Cancun World Cup might have been the end of the ITU world cup season, but it was a day of firsts in the women’s competition.
The Women’s Race
Katie Hewison (GBR) added to her already successful duathlon season with her first win in an ITU World Cup when she pounded out an ultra-speedy run. Kaitlin Shiver (USA) also recorded her first World Cup podium when she crossed over in second, while Lisa Perterer (AUT) took her second bronze in an ITU race as an elite.
“I’m absolutely amazed,” said Hewison. “I’m really, really pleased. It was a great race for me. Just coming back to triathlon, I think I’m more suited for the sprint distance at the moment, so that was a really great race for me.
Flora Duffy (BER) and Claudia Rivas (MEX) wasted no time getting themselves into prime position right from the start. Duffy came out with a blazing lead on the one-lap 750m swim, followed by Rivas. While the pair got a head start on the bike, a group of 16 athletes joined them on the first of three bike laps to form a large lead group.
While the group slowed significantly under the already-intense sun, they managed to maintain their distance from the chase pack on the second lap, which Shiver headed. Tremblay took her turn at the top when she bolted out to the front on the run course, followed by Shiver and Duffy.
However, Hewison was too powerful and quickly overtook the leaders. By the end of the first lap, she had gained an unbeatable advantage. Shiver and Tremblay followed Hewison, while Duffy fell behind in the tropical weather. Perterer prevailed under the equator temperatures, pulling even with Tremblay after the first of two run laps.
Much to her own disbelief, Hewison crossed over with a comfortable lead of 35 seconds in 1 hour, 19 seconds, emphatically jump-starting her return to triathlon from duathlon.
“I have been training (triathlons),” Hewison said. “This year was about building a base. I was out last year with a lot of injuries and had to come back slowly. I’m looking forward to next season now. It’s triathlon full steam ahead.”
Behind her, Shiver turned on the speed on the final metres to take silver in 1:00:54, while Perterer proved too tough for Tremblay, out sprinting the Canadian for bronze in 1:00:56.
The Men’s Race
For the second time in the 2012 ITU Triathlon World Cup season, Mexicans occupied the top two spots when Sergio Sarmiento and Crisanto Grajales sprinted to first and second place. Sarmiento’s win was a historic one for Mexico, as the country had never earned gold in the previous nine ITU World Cup events Cancun has hosted. Grajales took silver to Sarmiento, while Gregory Rouault (FRA) rounded out the podium.
“I was retired for five years because I had a crash on the bike, but I wanted to come back and I’m feeling good,” Sarmiento said. “In every event we do, it’s a better result and better result. It’s perfect for me. I am very happy. I don’t want to believe this because I hope it will lead to a lot more triumphs.”
Similar to the women, the men’s race saw two athletes swim out to a lead when Steffen Justus (GER) and Tommy Zaferes (USA) surged ahead of the field.
However, it didn’t take long for the chase pack of 35 men to close in on Zaferes and Justus early in the second bike lap. The Americans and Mexicans took over the top seven positions midway through the bike.
Although Zaferes was not one of the Americans leading on the bike, he managed to get out of transition first for the second time in the race. However, he was quickly run down by Grajales, Sarmiento and Jarrod Shoemaker (USA).
Similar to the Guatape World Cup where Grajales and Sarmiento ran with an American, the trio ran shoulder to shoulder on the first lap. But the brutal heat and humidity proved too much for Shoemaker, who lagged behind midway through the second lap. Rouault took the chance to run into third position.
While it was Grajales who had the legs to sprint ahead in Guatape, the contrary was true in Cancun. Sarmiento bolted ahead in a last-ditch effort for the gold in 53 minutes, 33 seconds. Grajales crossed over three seconds later in 53:36, while Rouault was third in 53:49.
2012 Cancun ITU Triathlon World Cup
Top 5 Men
1. Sergio Sarmiento (MEX) 00:53:33
2. Crisanto Grajales (MEX) 00:53:36
3. Grégory Rouault (FRA) 00:53:49
4. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 00:53:59
5. Steffen Justus (GER) 00:54:03
Top 5 Women
1. Katie Hewison (GBR) 01:00:19
2. Kaitlin Shiver (USA) 01:00:54
3. Lisa Perterer (AUT) 01:00:56
4. Kathy Tremblay (CAN) 01:00:59
5. Rebecca Robisch (GER) 01:01:21