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Spirig Takes Gold At ITU World Triathlon Series Madrid

Today's ITU World Triathlon Series Madrid race was the the final opportunity for countries to earn points toward Olympic qualification.

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Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig (SUI) powered away to her second ITU World Triathlon Madrid title after showing incredible strength in the final meters of the run. Spirig pulled away to a sprint finish for gold ahead of Aileen Morrison (IRL) and Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) who took silver and bronze respectively. The day also saw Olympic dreams realized and shattered as final London 2012 spots were decided in this, the final race in Olympic qualification.

The race began under milder temperatures of a late start for a non-wetsuit swim in Casa de Campo lake. Carolina Routier (ESP) and Abbie Thorrington (GBR) led a large field of over 20 out of the 1.5km swim and into T1. Nicky Samuels (NZL) put in a great second lap on the swim edging her way into the leading group with thoughts of Olympic qualification no doubt at the forefront of her mind.

The group headed out onto the bike within 12 seconds of one other and included Rachel Klamer (NED), Vicky Holland (GBR), Liz Blatchford (GBR) and Ainhoa Murua (ESP). The second group out of T1 left just 20 seconds later containing Spirig, Andrea Hewitt, Riveros Diaz and Morrison. The chase pack soon bridged the gap and by the second lap a large group of 30 had formed at the front with a smaller group of 13 led by Anne Haug (GER) now over a minute behind. At the half way point Daniela Ryf (SUI) dropped off the leaders to leave 29, but a surge on the last lap, largely thanks to Haug, brought the groups together for a busy transition of 39 athletes.

Gaining the advantage out of T2 was Spirig, Murua, Haug, Klamer, Kathrin Muller (GER), Holland and Tomoko Sakimoto (JPN) who quickly put a little fresh air between themselves and a similar sized group a few seconds behind.

By lap two of the four-lap run, the grueling bike leg was beginning to take its toll on some of the women as Murua and Holland began to drop off the pace. However, on the contrary Morrison dug deep to join the leaders now made up of Spirig, Haug and Riveros Diaz. It was not until the final 400 meters that Spirig began to push. Morrison and Riveros Diaz followed suit, but the sprint to the line was won by Spirig who claims her second WTS title in Madrid and continues her high class form in 2012.

“It was an amazing race for me. I had lots of support from the Spanish people and I felt good on the run and it was an amazing race,” said Spirig. “It’s all going really well, my training’s been going really well too so I’m very happy at the moment.”

“When I got there I thought well why not push this on, but in the last 800 meters I thought I was coming in fourth as my legs were like jelly and I knew Barbara had the strength. I can’t believe I managed to hold on for second I’m really delighted with that,” said Morrison.

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The men’s race from Madrid will take place tomorrow, May 27.

ITU World Triathlon Series Madrid
Madrid, Spain – May 26, 2012
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run

Women’s Results
1. Nicola Spirig SUI 02:06:35
2. Aileen Morrison IRL +00:04
3. Barbara Riveros Diaz CHI +00:06
4. Anne Haug GER +00:09
5. Rachel Klamer NED +00:31
6. Ainhoa Murua ESP +00:44
7. Vicky Holland GBF +00:45
8. Alexandra Razarenova RUS +00:58
9. Andrea Hewitt NZL +01:04
10. Liz Blatchford GBR +01:09

Complete results.