Richard Murray of South Africa edged Matthew Hauser of Australia and Emma Jeffcoat of Australia outran the women's field at the Mooloolaba World Cup.
Murray overcame a 26 seconds deficit after the swim and a 40 seconds deficit during the bike leg with a race-best 14:54 5 kilometer run split to finish in 53:09 with a 4 seconds margin of victory over Matthew Hauser of Australia and 8 seconds on 3rd place Matthew McElroy of the U.S.
“I was really pushed on this one,” Murray told ITU media. “Matt (Hauser) turned the gas on in those final laps. That was a lot harder than anticipated. Second time on the podium here and now top step.”
Jeffcoat best navigated the heavy surf to lead the swim, made a late surge on the bike leg to lead into T2, and closed with a by-far women’s-best run to finish in 59:35 with a 16 seconds margin of victory over Kirsten Kasper of the U.S. and 25 seconds over 3rd place Angelica Olmo of Italy.
“That’s racing,” Jeffcoat told ITU media. “You’ve got to play to the conditions and I am lucky to have a surf background that let me get an advantage to set up for a good race.”
ITU athlete Max Stapely led the swim in 7:39, followed by Sam Ward of New Zealand (7:54), Maximilian Schwetz of Germany (7:59), and then Tayler Reid of New Zealand, Vicente Hernandez of Spain, Aussies Brandon Copeland, Luke Willian and Ryan Bailie, and Tyler Mislawchuk of Canada.
Murray and Hayden Wilde of New Zealand , coming from 26 seconds down after the swim, charged to the front after 4 laps of a twisty course on the 20 kilometer bike leg.
“There was a lot of looking up and sitting around, a couple of the guys tried to break away,” said Murray. “I tried to break away myself, not particularly sure why, but thought it would be good to get a hard ride in today.”
Wilde tried an early urge before Murray and Hauser took charge, with up and coming U.S. contender McElroy unleashing a 3rd-best run to take 3rd at the line.
Hauser, the 2017 Junior World Champion at the Grand Final in Rotterdam, gave Murray a test. “I managed to handle myself on the bike and stay tucked into the pack and was able to have a bit of a kick at the end and come home for second place,” said Hauser.
McElroy took 3rd with a stellar 14:57 run. “It was the perfect course for me,” said McElroy “I have a surfing background so the swim was great and I also come from a running background.”
McElroy's bronze comes after 2nd place World Cup finishes at New Plymouth in 2017 and Tongyeong and Salinas in 2016.
Bolstered by her Australian surf competition background, Jeffcoat led the swim with an 8:23 split that gave her a 20 seconds lead on Kirsten Kasper of the U.S., 23 seconds on Nicole Van Der Kaay of New Zealand, 24 seconds on Natalie Van Coevorden of Australia and Tamara Gorman of the U.S., and 25 seconds on Charlotte McShane of Australia and Dominika Jamnicky of Canada.
On the technical bike course, Kasper led the first 5k lap with Jeffcoat tight on her wheel, with Van Der Kaay and Olmo of Italy hanging in the front pack. On the second lap, Van Coevorden, Kasper and Jeffcoat opened a lead with McShane, Elise Salt of New Zealand and Amelie Kretz of Canada trying to hang on. On the final laps, Jeffcoat charged into the lead at T2.
After a race-best 17:34 5k run, Jeffcoat shut the door on her pursuers for a 16 seconds margin of victory over Kasper, who ran a next-best 17:47 to take the silver. Olmo of Italy ran 17:59 to take 3rd, 9 seconds behind Kasper and 7 seconds ahead of Van Der Kaay in 4th place.
“It’s an awesome result,” Jeffcoat told ITU media. “I just focus on process and when my process is executed on I get my outcome,”
“Emma was the one to beat today,” said Kasper. “She was full on right from the start. I just tried to give it my all. It’s not like me to fall off that early but coming off Abu Dhabi (where she finished 4th), I can’t complain.”
Olmo was thrilled with her 3rd place finish. “First podium, so happy,” she said. “I worked really hard this winter and I wanted to achieve a result like this so I am really surprised but happy.”
Mooloolaba World Cup
March 10, 2018
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Richard Murray (RSA) 53:09
2. Matthew Hauser (AUS) 53:13
3. Matthew McElroy (USA) 53:17
4. Sam Ward (NZL) 53:33
5. Tony Dodds (NZL) 53:38
6. Vicente Hernandez (ESP) 53:40
7. Morgan Pearson (USA) 53:42
8. Luke Willian (AUS) 53:44
9. Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) 53:49
10. Kevin McDowell (USA) 53:52
17. Tony Smoragiewicz (USA) 54:21
1. Emma Jeffcoat (AUS) 59:35
2. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 59:51
3. Angelica Olmo (ITA) 1:00:00
4. Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL) 1:00:07
5. Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) 1:00:15]
6. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 1:00:18
7. Tamara Gorman (USA) 1:00:29
8. Beth Potter (GBR) 1:00:52
9. Amelie Kretz (CAN) 1:00:59
10. Deborah Lynch (NZL) 1:01:11
14. Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 1:01:50
21. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) 1:03:52