Summer Cook, Sarah True and Katie Zaferes scored the third-ever World Triathlon Series podium sweep for U.S. women at the sprint distance event in Edmonton, Canada.
Cook came from behind with a race-best 16:38 5k run to pick off countrywoman Sarah True with 500 meters to go, finishing in 56:49 with a winning margin of 3 seconds. Katie Zaferes finished 4 seconds later to complete the trifecta, 15 seconds ahead of Columbia Threadneedle WTS rankings leader Flora Duffy of Bermuda.
“A lot of today was just finding the mental willpower to keep myself in the race and put myself in the position to have a strong result,” Cook told ITU media. “I dnf’d here last year with hypothermia. I didn’t think I had a chance at all on the last curve on the last lap and then I started to believe that I had a chance.”
Cook’s previous best result was a 1st at the Chengdu World Cup earlier this year, where she closed with a race-best 34:27 10k run.
Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain led the swim in 9 minutes flat, with Flora Duffy 1 second back and followed by Cook (9:04), Kirsten Kasper of the U.S. (9:05), Zaferes and Mari Rabe of South Africa (9:07), Taylor Spivey of the U.S., Lucy Hall of Great Britain and Carolina Routier of Spain (9:09), and Sarah True (9:10).
That group of nine jumped out to a 30-seconds lead on the first of four 5k laps on the bike course. Halfway through the bike, a chase group including Great Britain’s Vicky Holland, Non Stanford and Jodie Stimpson cut 4 seconds off the lead, but the breakaway fought back and entered T2 with a 31 seconds lead.
Duffy fell back 5 seconds with a slow transition while Kasper charged into an early lead. But once she got going, True passed Kasper and took the lead as Duffy worked hard to join the two American women at the front.
After one lap, True took off again and left Kasper and Duffy behind. On the final lap, Cook surged and passed Zaferes, then Duffy and stormed out front with 500 meters to go. True held on for 2nd, which gave her a measure of redemption after a disappointing Olympics where she was forced to withdraw with a cramping hamstring.
“I knew I had some fitness. It was a question of whether or not my body was going to be able to handle racing,” True said. “As an athlete you never want to start a race not knowing if you can get through it. I was pleased I could get through. I’ve had a pretty difficult year and it was nice to have a result that I’m pretty proud of.”
Zaferes closed with a 17:01 run and passed Duffy with a few hundred meters to go to take 3rd by a 14 seconds margin.
Duffy still leads the season long WTS series women’s rankings by 166 points over Gwen Jorgensen coming to the Grand Final at Cozumel in two weeks’ time.
“I think there will be a little bit of math done to see what needs to be done in Cozumel,” Duffy told ITU media. “I would love to win the Series, but realistically, I never expected it. So whatever happens in Cozumel, it’s been a fantastic year.”
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
September 4, 2016
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Summer Cook (USA) 56:49
2. Sarah True (USA) 56:52
3. Katie Zaferes (USA) 56:56
4. Flora Duffy (BER) 57:10
5. Vicky Holland (GBR) 57:15
6. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 57:19
7. Non Stanford (GBR) 57:30
8. Emma Jackson (AUS) 57:36
9. Gillian Sanders (RSA) 57:37
10. Jolanda Annen (SUI) 57:41