With huge crowds turning out adding to the classic South African atmosphere, the ITU Triathlon World Cup was set for another Cape Town classic, and it was to be Vicky Holland and Richard Murray’s day.
The women’s swim started at Cape Town harbour for the one-lap 750m course. It was a brilliant swim from Hungary’s Zsanett Bragmeyer that set the pace, seeing her first out of the water followed by Portugal’s Melanie Santos.
In her first ITU race since Yokohama in May of last year, when an injury took her out of the field for nine months,Vicky Holland from United Kingdom was showing no adverse effects of the lay-off, emerging alongside teammate Non Stanford and onto the bikes in the lead pack.
Across the four flat but technical laps of the Cape Town stadium, it was the front seven who made the most of the tight course and were able to extend the advantage. By the bell, the gap had opened up to almost 40 seconds, and the British duo looked in control.
In the run, Holland kicked on in the heat, with Non Stanford set in second place to make it a GB one-two for the second year running following Lucy Hall and Jessica Learmonth’s success twelve months ago to the day. Zsanett Bragmeyer completed the podium.
Vicky Holland was surprised by her win after a long break from competing.
“I didn’t really know what to expect today because I’ve had a long time out of racing but I knew my training had been good and it just feels great to blow the cobwebs away with a win. It was an hour on the limit to be honest, but it’s nice to be back!”
The corresponding men’s race last year produced a perfect podium for the South Africa team, but this time around the likes of Jonas Schomberg and Joao Pereira were determined to make their presence felt.
Henri Schoeman emerged first out of the water, followed close by a long tail of athletes including Richard Murray. Belgium’s Christophe de Keyser and Germany’s Schomberg ensured they were also in the lead group of bikes, ahead of a huge chasing pack.
After two laps of Cape Town stadium, Netherlands’ Van der Stel had negotiated his way to the front of the eleven-strong group, the train led by Grant Sheldon (GBR) doing its best to stay in touch.
It was Schomberg who then exited from T2 in pole position with Israel’s Sagiv and Alster working well together, but Murray was in position to seize the initiative. With Schoeman and Austria’s Lukas Pertl giving it everything to stay at his heels, Murray kicked on to the delight of the home crowd, crossing the line in a time of 52:15 and earn another World Cup win on home soil, while Schoeman came in next and Pertl was delighted with his first ever World Cup podium.
“I had a bit of a fumble after the swim but from there it was quite similar to last year’s race, although without the penalty which was a bonus! Is an early season race but I’m happy with my form and looking forward to some big races on the calendar. A one-two in the Mother City – you can’t ask for much more.” said Richard Murray.
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