Cassandre Beaugrand sprints to stunning victory WTCS Cagliari

Cassandre Beaugrand takes the day at WTCS Cagliari (Archive Picture: World Triathlon / Insta Beaugrand)

Cassandre Beaugrand is ready to steal the show at the Paris Olympics in eight weeks from now: at least that is what you would expect if you saw her win the WTCS Cagliari today. After a beautiful and especially exciting final, it was the French athlete who sprinted to victory.

During the swim, it was Dutch Maya Kingma who took the lead, but when she came out of the water after 18:53 minutes, almost all the big favorites were close together. Ladies like Taylor Spivey, Flora Duffy, Emma Lombardi, Beth Potter, Taylor Knibb and also Beaugrand had excellent connections at that point.

Almost immediately on the bike, a large group of about thirty women formed together. Biggest absentees in this group were Summer Rappaport and Leonie Periault, who ended up riding in a small chasing group at about forty seconds. Not entirely unexpectedly, this small group was no match for the high pace of the large group at the front and the gap would continue to grow.

The pace at the front remained high, which actually made it impossible for women who might be thinking about it to mount any attacks. What was striking – but not necessarily unexpected – was that Knibb, especially in the final phase of the bike leg, did a lot of work and once again showed how strong she is on the bike.

The fastest transition was for Lombardi – a few seconds faster than all the other women – and so she also started the final ten kilometers of the run first. Behind her, it was soon Beaugrand and Georgia Taylor-Brown who were in hot pursuit, followed in turn by the rest of the field.

It didn’t take long before Beaugrand took over the lead in the race and a group of six women managed to break away from the rest. In addition to Beaugrand, Lehair, Lombardi, Taylor-Brown, Potter and Coldwell also took the lead. A disappointment to many: Duffy ran into a 30-second gap in the first few kilometers, which was not exactly where you would expect the reigning Olympic champion to be.

At the front, the pace was increased several times and Lisa Tertsch also joined in, but no real differences were made. Nevertheless, the leading group did thin out somewhat as the kilometers went by and with one lap – 2.5 kilometers – to go, only Potter, Lombardi, Tertsch, Lehair and Beaugrand were still running together. Under Potter’s almost murderous pace, it was then Lehair who had to drop off first, though only by a few meters.

The four remaining women in front alternated several times, with the pace seeming to be constantly faster. In the final kilometer, Lombardi took the lead once again, but even she could not shake off Tertsch, Potter and Beaugrand. These ladies then ran together straight to the finish line, almost certain of an all-decisive final sprint.

Tertsch was the first to start the sprint and only Beaugrand could go with her. In the end it even was the French athlete who eventually won in a time of 1:47:25. Tertsch was second and Potter third. Lombardi missed the podium by a hair and finished fourth.