Alberte Kjaer Pedersen of Denmark won her first World Cup with an impressive race-best 16:56 5k run that left Kirsten Kasper of the U.S. and Lisa Perterer of Austria in her wake at Huatulco.
Pedersen pulled away from a massive bike pack at transition and soloed to a 1:00:24 finish that gave her a 13 seconds margin of victory over Kasper, who prevailed in a fierce photo finish duel for the silver with Perterer.
“It was really nice racing here, it went really well,” Pedersen told ITU media. “My legs were feeling good and I was feeling comfortable and when I turned ‘round I realised there was nobody close. I was injured for the start of the qualification period for Tokyo but who knows what might happen and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”
In the last race counting for Olympic qualification points, the women on the podium had very different Olympic fates. Perterer already qualified for the Austrian team but was using Huatulco for a warm-up.
While Summer Rappaport and Taylor Knibb already qualified for the U.S. women’s team, leaving one more slot to be picked by U.S. team selectors. But Taylor Spivey, by virtue of her much higher rank in Olympic Qualification points and a 4th place at WTS Yokohama and 6th at WTS Leeds, appears to have wrapped up the third slot. As for the 23-year-old Dane, her Olympic Qualification rank was 92nd – which puts her out of the running.
Despite her early promise, Perterer lost ground in the Olympic chase due to injuries in the last few years. Recently, she has come into form with a 10th at the Arzachena World Cup, 7th at the Lisbon World Cup and joined the Danish team for a 5th place at a Mixed Relay Olympic Qualifier in March. Her first shining moment came with a win at the 2018 Danish National Championships.
With little chance of supplanting Spivey, Kasper gave it her all at Huatulco. “I came here to win and I didn’t get that today but I am happy with second and my result overall,” Kasper told ITU Media.
“It’s good practice and hopefully it shows the selectors that I can perform in the heat. We’ve trained together (with Perterer) before so it felt like practice and she’s a great competitor and so I had a lot of fun with that. I really wanted second so I went for it and had a little more left in the tank than I thought!”
With nothing to lose as she had already punched her ticket to Tokyo, Perterer was satisfied with her performance. “It was a good test for Tokyo,” Perterer told ITU media. “I think I did well and felt comfortable. I hope I can get some running in over the next five weeks. I am really excited already. I was super surprised with my run [17:03]. It didn’t feel as smooth as I wanted to feel but I was so happy to finish third, the sprint finish with Kirsten was great.”
Huatulco World Cup
June 12, 2021
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Alberte Kjaer Pedersen (DEN) S 10:11 T1 00:52 B 31:57 T2 00:25 R 16:56 TOT 1:00:24
2. Kirsten Kasper (USA) S 9:52 T1 00:56 B 32:12 T2 00:25 R 17:09 TOT 1:00:37
3. Lisa Perterer (AUT) S 10:06 R1 00:54 B 32:01 T2 00:30 R 17:03 TOT 1:00:37
4. Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) S 11:04 T1 1:03 B 31:25 T2 00:25 R 16:54 TOT 1:00:52
5. Amelie Kretz (CAN) S 10:10 T1 00:55 B 31:55 T2 00:27 R 17:28 TOT 1:00:57
6. Erika Ackerlund (USA) S 9:57 T1 00:55 B 32:09 T2 00:26 R 17:31 TOT 1:01:01
7. Anastasias Gorbunova (RUS) S 9:52 T1 00:56 B 32:14 T2 00:27 R 17:33 TOT 1:01:05
8. Niina Kishimoto (JPN) S 10:07 T1 00:57 B 31:57 T2 00:24 R 17:39 TOT 1:01:06
9. Renee Tomlin (USA) S 10:07 T1 00:57 B 31:57 T2 00:24 R 17:39 TOT 1:01:07
10. Dominika Jamnicky (CAN) S 10:08 T1 00:54 B 31:59 T2 00:28 R 17:50 TOT 1:01:22
11. Claudia Rivas (MEX) S 9:55 T`1 00:56 B 32:`13 T2 00:29 R 17:48 TOT 1:01:23
12. MIchelle Flipo (MEX) S 10:06 T1 00:54 B 32:01 T2 00:32 R 17:57 TOT 1:01:33
31. Gina Sereno (USA) S 10:10 T1 00:56 B 35:00 T2 b00:32 R 18:07 (TOT) 1:04:49