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ITU athlete Alan Webb contributed to this report.
This weekend, 27 U.S. triathletes traveled to Cuba, making them some of the first American triathletes to compete in the country in over 50 years. (Read about how the opportunity came about here.)
The eight U.S. professional athletes in the group competed in Saturday’s CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon in Habana, beginning their 2015 journey for Olympic/ITU points.
The American women dominated the elite field with Renée Tomlin and Kirsten Kasper, both members of USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program (CRP), taking first and second. The third American woman, Rebeccah Wassner, came in 10th.
According to USAT National Development Coach Jarrod Evans—one of the few available for comment from Cuba because of limited Internet availability—the men’s race was “decimated by torrential rain” and the men finished without a finish line or many of the surrounding tents.
Of the five American men competing, CRP athletes Nick Karwoski and Robby Webster both finished in the top 10 (6th and 10th, respectively). Dan McIntosh finished 13th, Chris Foster finished 16th and Josh Izewski, who was in the lead group after the swim, crashed along with three other athletes at the start of the second lap of the bike, taking him out of the race.
The 19 age-group triathletes coming from the U.S. will race on Sunday. Check back this week on Triathlete.com for some first-hand accounts from the athletes about what it was like racing in Havana.