Nicola Spirig keeps surprising us. The Swiss athlete just won the World Triathlon Cup Lisboa after an impressive performance on the bike and run. For a while it seemed that Ireland’s Carolyn Hayes would take the gold, but just before the finish line Spirig managed to take over. Hayes ended up in second place (+0:12) and America’s Kirsten Kasper completed the podium (+0:34).
She was expected to be the fastest swimmer and definitely lived up to these expectations – America’s Summer Rappaport completed the rough 1,500-meter swim in a time of 19:31 and reached T1 in first place. Due to the choppy water conditions the field had split in small groups during this first discipline.
Successful chase pack on the bike
About nine athletes soon joined each other on the bike to form a pack. Behind them there were some small groups of athletes – the closest about 47-seconds down after one lap on the bike. Spirig was in the fourth group after the first few kilometers on the bike (+1 min).
After ten kilometers on the bike, some chasing groups joined together to form a chase pack of 14 athletes. The group – which included Spirig – worked well together and managed to slowly close the gap to the front. After two laps and ten kilometers, the time difference was down to 49 seconds. In the meanwhile, the nine athletes in front seemed to have trouble keeping up the pace.
After about 25 km the chasers caught the front pack. Spirig had no intention of sitting in the group and relaxing, though. The Swiss’ athlete continued to push the pace, and soon tried to go off on her own. However, escaping with all these athletes right behind her wasn’t going to work.
A surprise on the run
Eighteen athletes put their bikes back into the transition area at the same time. It was Hayes who ran out onto the run course in first place, followed by Vicky Holland (GBR), Rachel Klamer (NLD), Kasper and Spirig. Surprisingly Hayes – who could be considered a dark horse – stayed ahead on the run for a long time. Spirig did everything she could to try and catch the Irish athlete, but it took her a while. With about one km to go, Spirig caught Hayes and moved ahead, taking gold in 1:59:05. Hayes was clearly over the moon to have earned herself an impressive silver medal. Kasper took the third podium spot.