X The 2015 Alanya ITU Triathlon World Cup kicked off on Saturday with the Elite Women’s race. Yuliya Yelistratova (UKR) stayed calm and collective during the entire race, claiming her second World Cup victory in 1:59:32 comfortably ahead of Summer Cook (USA) with 1:59:52 and Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP) with 2:00:05.
“I’m very excited, my second (World Cup) gold, and I’m very happy,” Yelistratova said of her first World Cup victory since 2010. “I really like this course, especially running in the hill because I can relax a bit going down, definitely enjoy the swimming in the ocean and the crowds are very friendly.”
Summer Cook (USA) started planning her race to the medal right from the beginning with a very strong swimming section being the first out of the water, followed by Carolina Routier (ESP), Lizeth Rueda Santos(MEX) and Anastasia Abrosimova (RUS).
The foursome owned a 15 second lead onto the bike, but that gap was quickly shut down after the first of six bike laps when the women were caught by a pack that contained an overwhelming majority of the field.
While several women took their turns up front, including Vendula Frintova (CZE) and Charlotte Deldaele (BEL), the most impressive bike performance of the day came from eventual bronze medallist Casillas, splitting the fastest time on the bike after exiting the water more than a minute down from the leaders.
One of the first women to hit T2 in the long line of athletes was Yelistratova, who blasted out of transition and took a lead on the run that she would never relinquish.
“It was a big motivation when I finished the bike section in the leading group, and I know that I always run 30 seconds faster,” said Yelistratova. “My friends and my coach said I could slow down a bit in the last lap, but I wanted to make sure I get the first place.”
Behind her, Cook started to inch ahead, announcing her intention to score her first World Cup podium.
“I felt confident in the training that I have done in the last couple months, so I knew if I follow the process and did what I need to do, I would have a good race,” Cook said. “This is the end of my second year racing, I feel I certainly progressed a lot and I’m very excited about it and feeling confident about the future.”
Despite her massive effort to catch the leaders on the bike, Casillas found the legs to finish off her day with an equally impressive run to join Cook as a first-time World Cup podium finisher. But it wasn’t without a battle from Under23 World Champion Audrey Merle, who challenged Garcia along the 10km run.
“It was a hard race, the weather was difficult but I kept pushing,” Casillas said. “I ran with the other girls but they were not well, so I was third on the finish line. I felt very good in the hill, it was my best point so I ran very fast and Merle fell behind.”
“It’s my first podium and I am very happy. I didn’t believe it in the finish line, I think its good prize for all the work I have done during the year. It’s amazing for me.”