There are horses for courses, and sometimes there are courses for horses.
In the world of triathlon, there are a select few dream matches between triathletes and courses that come to mind in this category. Mark Allen won 10 straight Nice titles. In the eight wins at one race category we have Cam Brown at Ironman New Zealand, Michellie Jones at Chicago, Paula Newby-Fraser at Ironman Hawaii, At 7 wins, there’s Olivier Bernhard at Zofingen. At six career wins, we have Natascha Badmann at Kona and Jo Lawn at Taupo.
And now Australia’s Courtney Atkinson is creeping up the multiple wins at the same place ladder with his 5th career win at the ITU World Cup in Ishigaki, Japan Sunday.
On a chilly spring day on the island of Ishigaki, Atkinson outran Russia’s Vasiliev brothers to take the win in 1:48:24 for a 37 seconds margin of victory over runner-up Ivan and 59 seconds over third place Denis.
Following his win at the season opener in Mooloolaba, Atkinson now owns the first two wins in the 2009 ITU World Cup season.
"I was probably more nervous today than usual,” Atkinson told ITU media. “But I've won a fair few times here and to win my fifth race on the island is great.”
Atkinson came shivering out of the swim near the front, then broke away with a group of six that left the main pack behind by a staggering four minutes. “I'm not the best in the cold, and it was a bit chilly here today,” said Atkinson. “But once I settled into my pace on the run, I was able to conserve a little bit of energy for next week (the first race of the 2009 ITU World Championship series in Korea) whilst managing to pull away."
In the women’s race, Japan’s Juri Ide ran away from Canada’s Kathy Tremblay on the final of four laps on the 10km run to take a five second margin of victory 2:03:33.
The win should not be surprising, since Ide finished a strong fifth at the Beijing Olympics after leading fourth place finisher Laura Bennett for much of the run.
Fellow Japanese Olympian Kiyomi Niwata ran had to take third another 16 seconds back of Tremblay.
"I'm especially happy that all of my friends, family and fans were here to see my win in Japan, and to share the experience,” Ide told ITU media.
Tremblay was happy to overcome some stomach troubles to make one of her first World Cup podiums. “I felt pretty sick last night as I accidentally ate some shrimp which I’m allergic to,” Tremblay told ITU media. “I started pretty steadily on the run just trying to stay relaxed. Juri and I managed to get ahead on the final lap but she kicked first and got the gold, I couldn’t quite react.”
“I am very happy to make the podium again in lovely Ishigaki, it was my fourteenth time racing here today and my third medal winning performance,” said Niwata.
Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup
April 26, 2009
S 1.5km /B 40km/ R 10km
1. Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 1:48:24
2. Ivan Vasiliev (RUS) 1:49:01 +:37
3. Denis Vasiliev (RUS) 1:49:23 +:59
4. Vladamir Turbaevskiy (RUS) 1:49:41 +1:17
5. James Seear (AUS) 1:49:46 +1:22
6. Hirokatsu Tayama (JPN) 1:50:13 +1:49
7. Sebastian Rank (GER) 1:51:34 +3:10
8. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:51:50 +3:26
9. Kyle Jones (CAN) 1:51:59 +3:35
10. Yohann Vincent (FRA) 1:52:03 +3:39
1. Juri Ide (JPN) 2:03:33
2. Kathy Tremblay (CAN) 2:03:38 +:05
3. Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) 2:03:54 +:21
4. Ainhoa Murua (ESP) 2:04:16 +:43
5. Lauren Groves (CAN) 2:04:51 +1:18
6. Olga Dmitrieva (RUS) 2:05:22 +1:49
7. Melanie Annaheim (SUI) 2:05:28 +1:55
8. Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:05:39 +2:06
9. Ai Ueda (JPN) 2:05:46 +2:13
10. Misato Takagi (JPN) 2:06:12 +2:39