Back when American star Katie Zaferes was still Katie Hursey, she was running for Syracuse as an All-Big East steeplechaser. So when her triathlons come down to the run phase, she’s pretty confident that she’ll be in contention.
When she is one of the fastest out of the water, then, it’s going to be hard to beat her. And no one did on Saturday at the second stop of the 2019 World Triathlon Series in Hamilton (BER). She dominated the race, winning her second straight race of the season and her third career World Series title.
Battling harsh winds that made the swimming difficult, Zaferes was fourth out of the 1,500 m first phase, trailing leader Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and made a quick transition to the 40 km bike phase. Only Learmonth and Norway’s Lotte Miller could stay with her on the bike, but once the 10 km run started, there could be little doubt who would cross first.
Her time was the fourth-fastest in the entire field, but having broken away from everyone but Learmonth and Miller, Zaferes won by a stunning 1:41 over Learmouth, with Miller fading to eighth and Canadian Joanna Brown charging up for third and her first career World Triathlon Series medal.
While Zaferes’s win was hardly a surprise, seeing France’s Dorian Coninx win the men’s race was a total shock. He had been a star at the Junior and U23 levels, but had only one World Triathlon Series medal to his resume, a bronze at the Cape Town (RSA) Sprint in 2016. In his last three World Series races, he had placed 37-15-14.
But there he was in the run phase, making up ground on the lead group of Vincent Luis (FRA), Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden (both NOR) and five-time World Triathlon champ Javier Gomez (ESP).
Coninx’s strong pace dropped Luis and Brummenfelt, and took the lead with less than 200 m left, outpacing Gomez with Iden finishing third, just as he did at this race a year. “I am really happy,” he said afterwards. “Especially because after Abu Dhabi I was a bit disappointed, and when you start the season so badly, it is very hard to get over it. But I did, and during the race I was just thinking on enjoying it.”
Spain’s pre-race favorite, Mario Mola, had a difficult swim in the choppy waters and fell way behind, finally finishing in 26th place. His next chance for redemption will come in Yokohama (JPN) on 18-19 May. Summaries:
ITU World Series no. 2
Hamilton (BER) ~ 27-28 April 2019
(Full results here)
Men: 1. Dorian Coninx (FRA), 1:50.36; 2. Javier Gomez Noya (ESP), 1:50:38; 3. Gustav Iden (NOR), 1:50:38; 4. Vincent Luis (FRA), 1:50:48; 5. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), 1:51:04; 6. Pierre Le Corre (FRA), 1:51:10; 7. Bence Bicsak (HUN), 1:51:11 ; 8. Joao Pereira (POR), 1:51:12; 9. Fernando Alarza (ESP), 1:51:29; 10. Leo Bergere (FRA), 1:51:47.
Women: 1. Katie Zaferes (USA), 1:59:52; 2. Jessica Learmonth (GBR), 2:01:33; 3. Joanna Brown (CAN), 2:02:05; 4. Lisa Perterer (AUT), 2:02:14; 5. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), 2:02:22; 6. Taylor Spivey (USA), 2:02:40; 7. Angelica Olmo (ITA), 2:02:53; 8. Lotte Miller (NOR), 2:03:05; 9. Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS), 2:03:37; 10. Julia Hauser (AUT), 2:03:40.