The 2018 ITU season is officially underway, thanks to an exciting sprint race that took place over the weekend in Cape Town, South Africa. With huge crowds turning out along the route to add some classic South African atmosphere to proceedings, the scene was set for another Cape Town classic, and ended up being a victorious day for Richard Murray (RSA) and Vicky Holland (GBR). (See the men’s race gallery here.)
The women got proceedings underway, launching into Cape Town harbor for the one-lap 750m course. It was a brilliant swim from Hungary’s Zsanett Bragmeyer that set the pace, seeing her first out of the water followed by Portugal’s Melanie Santos.
In her first ITU race since Yokohama in May of last year, when an injury took her out of the field for nine months, Vicky Holland was showing no adverse effects of the lay-off, emerging alongside teammate Non Stanford and onto the bikes in the lead pack.
Among the names coming out behind them were Chelsea Burns and top-ranked Rachel Klamer looking to make up the gap on the bikes. Across the four flat but technical laps of the Cape Town stadium, it was the front seven who made the most of the tight course and were able to extend the advantage. By the bell, the gap had opened up to almost 40 seconds, and the British duo looked in control.
Having negotiated T2 without incident, Holland kicked on in the heat. Only Japan’s Ai Ueda was able to conjure up a faster run time to assure herself of a top 10 finish, with Non Stanford set in second place to make it a GB one-two for the second year running following Lucy Hall and Jessica Learmonth’s success twelve months ago to the day. It was a delighted Zsanett Bragmeyer who made it across the line in third, ahead of Japan’s Juri Ide and Rachel Klamer.