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No one could stop Canada’s Paula Findlay today in Kitzbühel—the Canadian won her third-straight Dextro Energy World Championship Series race, defending her title and smashing Emma Moffatt’s record for the most World Championship Series wins.
The Canadian’s fifth World Championship Series title and third-straight victory have some comparing her to the great Emma Carney of Australia and Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal.
In other notable performances, American Sarah Groff had one of the best finishes of her career so far; she came in third, which was the first World Championship Series podium for Groff, who was plagued by injuries all of last year. She appeared to be crying tears of happiness after she crossed the finish line.
“I think it was just a matter of having fun today,” Groff told an ITU reporter after the race. “Last year I had a really rough year with injury.”
In a repeat of Madrid two weeks ago, Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins crossed the line in second.
The race started off in cold and rainy conditions with Sarah Haskins of the United States hammering the swim. She rolled into T1 20 seconds ahead of Jenkins and a minute ahead of Findlay.
Jenkins quickly joined Haskins on the bike, and for a while it looked like the pair might put in a repeat performance of the 2008 short-course world championships, when they broke away from the group on the bike and finished one-two.
But the two were caught after about 25K by a group that included Findlay, Australians Emma Moffatt, Erin Densham and Annabel Luxford, Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile, and Americans Laura Bennett and Groff.
“I thought we could get a gap, but the girls were obviously really determined to catch us,” Jenkins told an ITU reporter after the race.
Running out of T2, Findlay, Jenkins, Groff, Moffatt and Riveros started to hammer and quickly broke away from the women around them.
Slowly, Findlay and Jenkins began to drop their competitors, with Riveros falling first and Moffatt succumbing next. Groff held on until the beginning of the last lap, when Jenkins and Findlay noticeably picked up the pace.
Jenkins, who was largely responsible for pressing the pace during the entire race, wouldn’t let Findlay get even an inch on her for the majority of the last lap. But with about 800 meters to go, Findlay broke her.
“I’m thrilled again. Wow. That was a really hard. So much respect to Helen. She pushed the whole last lap. I really didn’t think I could stay with her. I was just running at maximum the whole way,” Findlay told an ITU reporter.
The United States finished the day with three women in the top 15; Bennett finished in sixth and Haskins was 15th.
1. PAULA FINDLAY CAN 02:05:52
2. HELEN JENKINS GBR +00:04
3. SARAH GROFF USA +00:35
4. EMMA MOFFATT AUS +00:39
5. BARBARA RIVEROS DIAZ CHI +00:49
6. LAURA BENNETT USA +00:52
7. AI UEDA JPN +01:08
8. ERIN DENSHAM AUS +01:11
9. SVENJA BAZLEN GER +01:18
10. NICKY SAMUELS NZL +01:19
15. SARAH HASKINS USA +01:45
35. JILLIAN PETERSEN USA +03:29