Canadian Paula Findlay showed again that she is a force to be reckoned with this year with a superb win in round one of the 2011 Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Championship Series in Sydney, Australia.
Laura Bennett led out of the water after the first of 2 laps in the Sydney Harbour, but she had quite a few other athletes right on her heels, among them Sarah Groff, Kerry Lang and Andrea Hewitt. At the end of the swim it was Bennett and Lang first back onto the pontoon.
Leaving transition a group of 15 established but other smaller groups were not far behind and before too long that front group had grown to around 30 with most of the favorites there, but Emma Snowsill missing in action. Well, about 40 seconds down at 5k in the third group on the road. The second pack started to get closer though and the leading group soon grew to 36 athletes. A crash though in mid pack broke that group up and at 16k there were now 26 women left up front and the gap to Snowsill steadily grew. At the halfway point Snowsill was down 1:45, but the second group that included U23 World Champion Emma Jackson had closed the gap to the front. Most aggressive action up front though had to do with the Specialized bike bonus available on each lap, but after the sprint line the pace up front seemed to slow down. Not much changed after that other than the gap to Snowsill and 30 some women reached T2 together.
Andrea Hewitt charged out hard on the run with Lisa Mensink, Emma Moffatt and Barbara Riveros-Diaz right there. Findlay also moved up front and Laura Bennett started to gain a bit of a gap. Hewitt and Riveros-Diaz closed back up to Bennett, and soon Mensink, Findlay, Tomoko Sakimoto and Carole Peon were there too, but Moffatt fell off the pace. Mensink soon also dropped off and that left 6 women up front to battle for the podium. With 1k to go Riveros-Diaz pulled away, but Findlay and Hewitt clawed their way back to her, with Hewitt a couple steps behind. Findlay then took over and was just too strong for Riveros-Diaz and grabbed the win. Hewitt held on for third place.
Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series Sydney
Sydney, Australia / April 10, 2011
1.5k swim / 40k bike /10k run
1. Paula Findlay (CAN) 2:01:21
2. Barbara Riveros-Diaz (CHI) 2:01:24
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:01:29
4. Carole Peon (FRA) 2:01:39
5. Tomoko Sakimoto (JAP) 2:01:40
6. Laura Bennett (USA) 2:01:59
7. Ai Ueda (JAP) 2:02:02
8. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:02:32
9. Lisa Norden (SWE) 2:02:36
10. Lauren Campbell (CAN) 2:02:43