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It was a great start to the 2010 World Cup season for reigning ITU Duathlon World Champion Vendula Frintova of the Czech Republic. Frintova took home the title here in Mooloolaba today, narrowly outpacing Japan’s Tomoko Sakimoto and Great Britain’s Liz Blatchford. With her win, Frintova becomes the first Czech woman ever to win an ITU World Cup.
“My hard training has paid off and I am so happy,” Frintova said after the race. “I am training hard and setting new goals for the 2012 London Olympics.”
A little cloud cover gave the elite women a bit of a break from the hot conditions that have hung over Mooloolaba all week, but a stiff breeze made for plenty of chop in the Ocean as the women started their swim. American veteran Laura Bennett immediately charged to the front of the pack, accompanied by countrywoman Sarah Groff, Britain’s Liz Blatchford and Aussie Felicity Sheedy-Ryan.
Bennett continued to string the group of 42 women out through the 1.5km swim, and by the time the top women exited the water, there were two distinct groups. Bennett led the first group out of the water in 20:40. Noticeably absent from the lead group at the first transition was defending race winner Kirsten Sweetland of Canada. Sweetland exited the water over a minute back of Bennett, with Frintova also in the trailing group.
“I didn’t have a great swim,” said Frintova. “I had to work hard on the bike to close the gap.”
Onto the first of seven laps of the bike, Blatchford took charge of the front group of 13, while Germany’s Ricarda Lisk led the chase group of seven women. A third group of 12 finished the first lap about 25 seconds behind the chase group.
The first chase group caught the leaders on lap two of the bike and started to pull away from the pack of 12 girls behind them. At the end of lap two, the chase pack, which included Sweetland, was 90 seconds behind the leaders.
A pair of Brits, Blatchford and Jodie Stimpson, took charge of the lead group on lap three and continued to put time into the chasers. Frintova led group two with Sweetland right on her wheel. The pace of the leaders slowed as the women made their way onto the final lap of the bike and the chase group, now led by Sweetland, began making up big chunks of time.
Bennett led into the second transition and charged out onto the four-lap run course with a narrow lead on the big group behind her. Just behind the American were Stimpson, New Zealand’s Debbie Tanner and Canadian Kathy Tremblay. Frintova led the next group of women into transition only 30 seconds later, accompanied by Sweetland and a group of 10 other girls.
Five kilometres into the run, a lead group of six women had emerged, led by South Africa’s Kate Roberts. Keeping Roberts company were Stimpson, Sakimoto, Blatchford, Tanner and the Netherland’s Lisa Mensink, Frintova had pulled to within 25 seconds of the leaders at the halfway point of the run.
With just one lap to go, Frintova pulled up to within 10 seconds of Sakimoto and Blatchford, who were now by themselves at the front. The three women eventually came together and ran together or a brief moment, before Frintova put on a surge and pulled away from the other two women.
“It was a little frustrating riding so slow on the bike,” Frintova said afterward. “But I was comfortable waiting until the run to go. It’s a good start to the season. I love this country and love the sun!”
The Czech stopped the clock in 2:03:16 after posting a day’s best 35:54 run. Frintova finished just 12 seconds ahead of Sakimoto, who earned her first World Cup podium of her career.
“I tried to hold off Frintova, but she was too good,” Sakimoto said.
Blatchford, who was competing in Mooloolaba for the tenth time, hung on for third, finishing another 16 seconds behind Sakimoto.
“I felt good through about seven kilometres of the run, but after that I couldn’t make any more moves,” Blatchford said. “The last three kilometres was just survival for me just to get around the course.”
The ITU’s elite women now look toward to kick off of the 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Series season in Sydney on April 11.
“Sydney will be a stronger field and will be more difficult to win,” Frintova said. “I will do my best and see what happens.”
Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
28 March 2010
Elite Women Results
1.Vendula Frintova (CZE) 2:03:15
2. Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN) 2:03:17
3. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:03:43
4. Kate Roberts (RSA) 2:04:04
5. Sarah Groff (USA) 2:04:19
6. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 2:04:20
7. Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) 2:04:22
8. Ainhoa Murua (ESP) 2:04:26
9. Lisa Mensink (NED) 2:04:35
10. Debbie Tanner (NZL) 2:04:36