Alarza, Stanford take gold in thrilling Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town
Spaniard Fernando Alarza blitzed the sprint course at the 2016 Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town on Sunday to snatch the gold medal from Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee. Alarza came out of the 750m swim leg in the front bunch and stayed there through the 20km cycling leg.It soon became evident that the race would be a battle between the Alarza and Brownlee, but the latter dropped back towards the end of the 5km run and crossed the finish line five seconds behind the elated Spaniard.
credit Chris Hitchcock
It was Alarza’s first World Triathlon Series win in his career. He said after crossing the line: “A sprint distance is good for me. I think I had the best race of my life. I am so happy because now I think I qualify for Rio finally. Today was amazing, I was very motivated. Today I was just very good and feeling good. It was a very strong run.”
The race was the third in the annual nine-event WTS and was raced over a sprint-distance course. It started with a swim at the V&A Waterfront and ended at the Green Point Athletics Stadium.
France’s Dorian Coninx had been in touching distance of the leaders for the much of race but also dropped back on the run, finishing another six seconds behind Brownlee.
World number one Mario Mola of Spain had a surprisingly poor swim and had to be content with sitting in the second bunch during the cycle. He ran a lightning fast final leg to finish fourth.
South Africa’s Henri Schoeman had an excellent race and finished sixth, just 28 seconds behind Alarza, after being close to the leaders until mid-way through the run.
“In the previous two races here I’ve had something go wrong,” said Schoeman afterwards. “But my form coming into this race has been really good, so I’m really happy that I managed to pull off a good race.”
“I made a mistake coming out of the swim: my wetsuit didn’t want to come off and I really struggled with it. We were chasing the front group for at least a lap-and-a-half. Luckily we caught them but it took a lot out of my legs. I think I could have had a better run otherwise but I’m really happy with a sixth place.”
Meanwhile, for the third consecutive year the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town elite women’s event was captured by a British athlete.
Non Stanford powered to the win after turning on the afterburners in the final kilometre of the run.
Commenting on her win Stanford said, “I came in really apprehensive: some of my friends and family told me they were going to watch me on the TV and I had to tell them they probably would not see me! But I was really shocked to be up there at the front.”Making it on to her second WTS podium of the year was British compatriot Jodie Stimpson, who fished second. Finishing off the podium was Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, who had the swim and cycle legs of the competition, racing the whole 20-kilometre bike course alone at the head of the field.
However, the chasing bunch were on her heels as she entered the second transition – from bike to run – and Stanford kicked in with a big effort in the final kilometre to secure the gold medal.Stimpson followed into the finish chute just 7 seconds behind for her third-straight WTS podium this season.Duffy, who trains in Stellenbosch for six months of the year, said: “I don’t know if it was brave, silly, stupid or what, but I came out of the swim with a bit of a gap and I thought, well the ride is only a 20km so let me see. There was 30 seconds at one point and then I got caught coming into transition.”
The best-placed South African was Mari Rabie, who finished 17th. She said afterwards: “I had to fight for my top 20 spot. You sometimes have good days and bad days, but I think I’ve improved a lot if a bad day can still mean a top 20 in a world series.”
Pos First Name Last Name Country Overall Time
1 Fernando Alarza ESP 00:54:12
2 Jonathan Brownlee GBR 00:54:17
3 Dorian Coninx FRA 00:54:23
4 Mario Mola ESP 00:54:33
5 Pierre Le Corre FRA 00:54:38
6 Henri Schoeman RSA 00:54:40
7 Aurelien Raphael FRA 00:54:48
8 Vicente Hernandez ESP 00:54:52
9 Richard Varga SVK 00:54:53
10 Andrea Salvisberg SUI 00:54:55
Pos First Name Last Name Country Time
1 Non Stanford GBR 00:59:49
2 Jodie Stimpson GBR 00:59:56
3 Flora Duffy BER 00:59:59
4 Anne Haug GER 01:00:07
5 Kirsten Kasper USA 01:00:08
6 Vicky Holland GBR 01:00:15
7 Ai Ueda JPN 01:00:21
8 Yurie Kato JPN 01:00:26
9 Sarah True USA 01:00:33
10 Kaidi Kivioja EST 01:00:34