Katie Zaferes wins World Triathlon Cup Vina del Mar after thrilling finale, but loses title due to DSQ

Katie Zaferes wins World Triathlon Cup Vina del Mar (Picture: World Triathlon)

Edit: Immediately after the finish, a protest was filed by Gwen Jorgensen – who originally placed third – alleging a number of athletes ran the wrong route. That protest was approved two hours after the race, meaning Katie Zaferes, Tereza Zemovjanova, Mathilde Gautier and Anna Godoy Contreras were retroactively disqualified. This removes numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 from the results list. As a result, Jorgensen won the race, Gina Sereno was second and Vicky Holland third.

—Original Race Report—

Katie Zaferes can still do it: she just won the World Triathlon Cup Vina del Mar in Chile. After a thrilling finale, the American top athlete took the win, but she had to fight for it until the very last meters.

The swim was over after 10:04 minutes; Canadian Desirae Ridenour then led the field, which came out of the water in a big ribbon one after the other, and both Katie Zaferes and Gwen Jorgensen were just a few seconds behind. Both American women were considered the biggest favorites for the overall victory beforehand, and so in the opening stage of the race, they showed why.

On the bike, two women broke away briefly, but soon a few more joined them to create a leading group of five athletes: Katie Zaferes, Mathilde Gautier, Tereza Zimovyanova, Djenyfer Arnold and Anna Godoy Contrerar. Zaferes did by far the most of the leading work on the bike, although it cost her quite a bit of energy judging by the grimaces she regularly pulled, while Jorgensen had thus missed the connection with the leading group.

During the bike ride, the leading group stayed together and the lead on the first pursuers increased to almost a minute, but in T2 fate struck for Zaferes. The top American athlete struggled to get her running shoes on and lost about twenty precious seconds. With that, she lost a great starting position for the run and had to mainly chase the girls up front.

This was especially necessary for Gautier and Zimovjanova, as the French and Czech ran away from Arnold and Godoy immediately from T2, thus leading the race. At least after two kilometers into the run, Zaferes had already passed Arnold and Godoy, and from third position she was also already looking Gautier and Zimovjanova in the back. The running pace of Zaferes was clearly the best, but Godoy did hook into her back, and entering the final 2.5 kilometers, a lead group of four women thus formed as Zaferes and Godoy joined Gautier and Zimovjanova. Arnold was definitely done from that point on.

The final kilometers became quite exciting as the leading foursome continued to run side by side, steadily increasing the pace. When Zaferes really opened the throttle, with just over a kilometer to go, Gautier was the first to drop out. Not much later, Godoy also had to admit that the pace was just too fast, leaving only Zaferes and Zimovyanova. From that moment on it became really spectacular, because Gwen Jorgensen was running so fast from an almost lost position that she had advanced to third position already and could almost touch the two leaders.

That was also the moment Zaferes accelerated yet again: it was her only chance to win the race. For Zimovyanova that acceleration was too much and for Zaferes it was enough to indeed win the race in a time of 57:24. Zimovyanova finished second only four seconds later and Jorgensen third another two seconds later.

Men’s race

The men’s race was won by Manoel Messias. The Brazilian won in a time of 50:50. His compatriot Miguel Hidalgo was second in 50:54 and Mexican Aram Michell Penaflor Moysen was third in 51:00.