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Canada’s young triathlon superstar Paula Findlay won the first race of the Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series on Sunday in Sydney, Australia.
On Sunday, April 10, 2011, Paula Findlay won the female professional race of the Dextro Energy Triathlon in Sydney, Australia to kick off the 2011 ITU World Championship Series, which next takes place in Yokohama, Japan on May 14 and 15. The day started off with blue skies and 27 degrees Celsius temperatures as spectators lined up on the steps of the world-famous Sydney Opera House. Athletes would be swimming the photogenic Sydney harbour, riding across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then running through the city on one of the most iconic triathlon courses in existence.
The women professionals took to the water at 11:36am in Farm Cove, after the age-group race completed. Norden and Australian favorite Moffatt lined up at opposite ends of the pontoon. It was a clean start, but athletes dealt with choppy conditions as they battled it out in three distinct groups. Athletes had to leave the water and run up onto the pontoon before entering the water again for the second lap of the 1500m course. American Laura Bennett lead most of the swim and came out first with a time of 21:55 with Kerry Lang of Great Britain and American Sarah Groff less than two seconds behind her.
Bennett was first onto the bike course followed closely by Lang, Groff and Moffatt in the chase pack. But Anna Cleaver of New Zealand took over very quickly as athletes headed onto Macquarie Street. But leads changed constantly throughout this 40K bike course and Moffatt took over at the 7.8K mark with Norden coming on strong to pass Moffatt at the 9K. Around the 12K mark was an accident that knocked down eight or nine cyclists, which dropped some women from the lead chase pack. Groff, who was in third going into T1, was affected by the accident and chose to take a DNF, as did just under a dozen other women. Halfway through the bike, Moffatt pulled out in front of the chase back, but with Bennett right on her wheels. The second chase pack was two minutes back, which included Australian favorite Emma Snowsill. Coming off the bike first was Moffatt with a time of 1:03:20, followed closely behind by Annabel Luxford and Barbara Riveros Dias.
On the run, the women looked strong. Bennett took off running hard and took the lead. She led New Zealander Andrea Hewitt and Riveros Dias who were both working feverishly to pass her on the incline up Macquarie Street. But Bennett paid the price for going out fast and faded back for a few minutes, but was able to keep herself in contention. Unfortunately, Bennett had to serve a penalty near the end of the run of 15 seconds, which took her out of any podium finish. At the 7.5K, Tomoko Sakimoto pulled out in front, jockeying for first position with Canadian Paula Findlay.
In the end, it was a surge to the finish with Findlay coming off with a win and a time of 2:01:21, followed by Riveros Diaz and Hewitt to round out the top three.
ITU World Championship Series – Sydney
April 10, 2011 – Sydney, Australia
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
1. Paula Findlay (CAN) 2:01:21
2. Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 2:01:24
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:01:32
4. Carole Peon (FRA) 2:01:39
5. Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN) 2:01:40