Denmark’s Pedersen earns first World Triathlon Cup gold in Huatulco

Sunday 13 June 2021

A debut World Triathlon Cup win for Alberte Kjær Pedersen lit up the Mexican coastline on Saturday evening as the Dane delivered a sizzling 5km run to take the tape in Huatulco. She managed to pull away from the main group out of transition and didn’t look back until the final straight, where a battle for second was raging between USA’s Kirsten Kasper and Austria’s Lisa Perterer, the American timing her final push to perfection to edge the silver.

“It was really nice racing here, it went really well,” said Pedersen. “My legs were feeling good and I was feeling comfortable and when I turned round I realised there was nobody close. I was injured for the start of the qualification period for Tokyo but who knows what might happen and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.”

The steam was rising off the streets of Huatulco as the women lined up on Saturday evening for the final World Triathlon action of the Olympic Qualification period, and while the rain was holding off, both humidity and temperatures were high.

Kasper led the athletes out for the beach start, looking for one final effort to impress the US Olympic selectors, followed by Perterer who was one of the first to qualify for Tokyo at the Test Event back in 2019.

The American had a great swim too, exiting through the waves out front alongside Anastasia Gorbunova (RUS), with Claudia Rivas (MEX) and Yuka Sato (JPN) close by, Pedersen some 20 seconds back with Niina Kishimoto (JPN) and Amelie Kretz (CAN). Kasper’s teammate Erika Ackerlund was also among the leaders as they headed into transition, and it was a large bike group that quickly merged over the first of the four 5km laps.

Pedersen was straight on the gas as she laid it all down in a bid to join with the leaders and a group of 20 snaked into transition at the end of the first lap, and by the halfway point there was 44 seconds between them and the chasers, including Romina Biagioli (ARG) and Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR).

By the end of the four laps, the gap was almost a minute, and while Perterer didn’t have the smoothest of transitions, she wasted no time getting back to the front, where Kasper, Kretz and Pedersen were already striding clear of the group.

Ecuador’s Elizabeth Bravo, Japan’s Niina Kishimoto and Ackerlund couldn’t quite match the pace of that lead quartet, and it wasn’t long before Pedersen started to ease through the gears once again. 

There was little doubt who looked the most comfortable, and the Dane was able to extend her advantage over each of the descents back into the town centre, Perterer and Kasper eventually dropping Kretz and locking into a brilliant game of cat and mouse over the final two kilometres as Pedersen vanished from sight, taking the tape with a huge smile.

After looking like she had blown up, Kasper reeled in Perterer one last time and passed her on the chute for the silver, Bravo taking fourth from Kretz, Ackerlund, Gorbunova, Kishimoto, Renee Tomlin (USA) and Dominika Jamnicky (CAN) rounding out the top ten.

“I came here to win and I didn’t get that today but I am happy with second and my result overall, it’s good practice to race in the heat and hopefully it shows the selectors that I can perform in the heat,” said Kasper. “We’ve trained together (with Lisa) before so it felt like practice and she’s a great competitor and so I had a lot of fun with that. I really wanted second so I went for it and had a little more left in the tank than I thought!”

“It was a good test for Tokyo,” said Perterer. “I think I did well and felt comfortable. I hope I can get some running in over the next five weeks. I am really excited already. I was super surprised with my run. It didn’t feel as smooth as I wanted to feel but I was so happy to finish third, the sprint finish with Kirsten was great.”

Results: Elite Women
1. Alberte Kjær Pedersen DEN 01:00:24
2. Kirsten Kasper USA 01:00:36
3. Lisa Perterer AUT 01:00:37
4. Elizabeth Bravo ECU 01:00:51
5. Amelie Kretz CAN 01:00:57

by doug.gray at triathlon.org


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