Release: 21 September 2003 For immediate release
Madrid, Spain: Race Synopsis: Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal, and Hunter Kemper
of the USA both posted dramatic wins in the Madrid ITU World Cup today with spectacular
sprint finishes. Fernandes gave Portugal her first World Cup victory in Triathlons
history by surging ahead of Mariana Ohata of Brazil within metres of the finish.
Spains Pilar Hidalgo delighted her home-country fans by taking third. Hunter
Kempers finish in the mens event was even more dramatic as 6 mens
sprinted for the line as thousands of Madridian cheered on their hero and current
Triathlon World Champion Ivan Rana. Ukraines Vladimir Polikarpenko was
2nd a repeat of last weeks performance in the Nice ITU World Cup
with (believe it or not) exactly the same finish time. New Zealands Craig
Watson continued his climb up the World Rankings by finishing 3rd.
The story in detail: In preparation for the Athens Olympic Games Triathlon, athletes
are looking for hot and hilly events to test their metal, and that
is exactly what the Madrid ITU World Cup delivered.
In the womens event Sheila Taormina of the USA led through the 2 lap 1500m swim in Lago de Casa de Campo with team-mate Becky Gibbs-Lavelle and Italys Sylvia Gemignani on her toes. By the swim to bike transition Taormina had a 23 second lead, with the eventual winner Vanessa Fernandes 43 seconds back at this point.
Once on the bike, Taormina waited for some support and was soon joined by teammates Susan Williams and Gibbs-Lavelle, Fernandez, Jodie Swallow (GBR) and Gemignani. The chase pack of 13 was led by Pilar Hidalgo and was a mere 14 seconds back after the 1st of 5 laps. Kelly Handel of the USA led the second chase pack that also included Olympic Champion Bridgette McMahon a further 1:30 back.
By the end of the 2nd lap, Hidalgo had led the chase pack up to the leaders to form a group of 19 at the front. Austrias Kate Allen now became the leader of the chase group that was 3:16 back by the half way point and well out of contention.
Hidalgo pulled the leaders through most of the remaining 2 laps and was the first one through the second transition and onto the 4 lap, 10km run course. Taormina took over at the front for the first lap, with Fernandes and Williams on her shoulder. The lead settled down by the 5km mark, with Fernandes and Hidalgo being joined at the front by Brazils Mariana Ohata and Germanys Joelle Franzmann. The troika of Ohata, Fernandez and Hidalgo slowly pulled away from the others, setting things up for a dramatic finish.
It was the young Portugueses day, adding her first World Cup title to this years credits that include European Junior Triathlon Champion and World Junior Duathlon Champion. She managed to out-sprint Mariana Ohata in the finish straight for the win, with Hidalgo a few second back. Joelle Franzmann continued her strong season by finishing 4th with Jodie Swallow 5th.
A jubilant Vanessa Fernandez said in the post-race interview, I prepared for those hills on the bike, and they came very easy for me. I just cant believe that Ive won my first World Cup!
A very tearful Mariana Ohata told the press after the race that she was so sad about her performance in last weekends Nice ITU World Cup that she phoned her parents in Brazil and told them she wanted to come home! Fortunately they convinced me not to give-up, so now I have a silver medal to take home to them.
In the mens event, Spains World Champion and hero Ivan Rana led through the 2 lap swim and was first into the swim to bike transition, sending a wave of enthusiasm through the huge crowd that had gathered under the shade of the 250 year old Tamarix Gallica trees which have made Casa de Campo an internationally famous botanic reserve. It was the transition-savvy Simon Thompson of Australia who scampered through the mlange first followed by Rana and Vladimir Polykarpenko of the Ukraine.
The lead pack was almost 40 riders with the Spanish team of Rana, Xavier Llobet, Jose Merchan, brothers Hektor and Eneko Llanos working their magic at the front. Stefan Vukovic of Germany, Andrea DQuino of Italy and Levi Maxwell of Australia were also taking their turn at the front of the huge pack.
Newcomer Reinaldo Colucci of Brazil and Dimitri Gaag of Kazakhstan where leading the charge of the chase pack, but by the half way point had fallen out of contention almost 2 minutes back.
With 2 laps to go DQuino and Merchan joined forces to attempt a get-away, with Xavier Llobet and Hektor Llanos controlling the chase pack. The leaders managed to build up a 36 second lead before being pulled back in before the end of the bike.
Ivan Rana was the first off the bike with Germanys Maik Petzold and Switzerlands Sven Riederer on his heels. Again, the speedy Simon Thompson was first through the bike to run transition, with Rana, Unger, Reto Hug of Switzerland, and American team-mates Hunter Kemper and Michael Smedley close behind. Craig Watson of New Zealand soon moved forward to take the lead, and by the 5km point 13 athletes were still running together at the front. Rasmus Henning of Denmark took over at the front at the 7km mark along with Cedric Fleureton of France, as Filip Ospaly dropped off the back to make it 12 still in contention for the podium.
On the final lap, Richard Stannard of Britain and Eneko Llanos fell off the back as Rana, Kemper, Polykarpenko, Watson and Unger continued shoulder to shoulder at the front. In the final metres Hunter Kemper found that extra gear and snatched his first World Cup title of the season from the others. Vladimir Polykarpenko continued to play bridesmaid by racking up another 2nd place finish, while Craig Watson managed to fend off Ivan Rana for the final step on the podium.
A delighted Hunter Kemper said in his post-race interview, Ive finally found the kick Ive lacked in other sprint finishes. I have never felt so good on the runon the last lap I even had time to find my wife in the crowd and wave to her.
A disappointed Ivan Rana said, My head just wasnt there today. 4th is fine I learned a lot!
The first-ever World Cup event to be staged in Madrid was a resounding success,
with congratulations all around from officials, dignitaries and sponsors. Everyone
agreed that this is a definite cannot miss on future World Cup
Related Event: 2003 Madrid ITU Triathlon World Cup
|Results: Elite Men|
|4.||Ivan Raña Fuentes||ESP||01:50:05|
|Results: Elite Women|
|3.||Pilar Hidalgo Iglesias||ESP||01:59:48|
|10.||Becky Gibbs Lavelle||USA||02:01:44|