West Des Moines, USA (June 27, 2009) – Beijing Olympic bronze and silver
medalists, Emma Moffatt and Simon Whitfield, respectively, took home
triathlon’s largest paycheck today at the Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup.
Each grabbed $200,000 USD as the winners of two races that unfolded the
complete opposite of one another. While Moffatt led an eight woman
breakaway on the bike which would take her clear of any threat from teammate
and main rival Emma Snowsill; Whitfield would sit with the large group and
wait until the final metres before breaking free in what seemed a flashback
of last August’s Olympic Games.
Current points leader Moffatt continued her dream season with her win today
at triathlon’s largest payday in a time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 46 seconds.
With over $1million USD in prize money up for grabs this weekend it was the
Beijing Olympics bronze medallist who powered her way through the Olympic
calibre field to claim the $200,000 first place prize. In second was the
other Aussie Emma, Emma Snowsill, 1 minute 33 seconds behind. And in third,
Canada’s Lauren Groves another 12 seconds back.
“Wow, it’s amazing, it hasn’t sunk in at all yet,” commented Moffatt at the
finish. “It’s great to put together two great races in six days and to come
away with the win, I’m ecstatic. It was good to make the break and get a
lead and I was a bit concerned when Andrea [Hewitt] came with me for the
first lap. I was just trying to focus on running and not on the money. I
don’t know what I’m going to do with it, I haven’t given it any thought.”
Sweltering, windy conditions greeted the 50 starters as they dived into Blue
Heron Lake this morning. In typical fashion American swim expert Sara
McLarty led out of the water, 37 seconds ahead of the group. Her lead would
not last long though with an efficient pack led by last week’s Washington
D.C. Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship winner Moffatt, New
Zealand’s Andrew Hewitt, 2008 world champion Helen Jenkins of Great Britain
and the American duo of Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett having closed the
gap in the first three laps of eight.
The surprise was Olympic champion Emma Snowsill who failed to make the first
group out of the water and was relegated to the larger chase group for the
entire 40 kilometre bike segment. The bike course in West Des Moines is
flat and technical with multiple hairpin turns, which favoured the eight
woman lead group enabling them to put small amounts of time in the chasers
on every lap. Entering second transition, the lead would be 55 seconds.
In a repeat of last weekend’s performance, Moffatt immediately went on the
attack early in the run, dropping everyone except for Hewitt. The Kiwi
would not last long however, and by the end of the first lap Hewitt was
already beginning to fall back leaving Moffatt to cruise to victory and her
largest payday ever. Never taking her foot of the gas for a moment Moffatt
still posted the fastest run of the day with a 35:35 10-kilometre split.
Second place Snowsill showed her run prowess reeling in the entire lead
group, except for Moffatt, with the second fastest run split of the day.
After an up and down 2008, Lauren Groves showed her run form keeping within
striking distance of Snowsill all day to claim her first major podium.
“Two podiums in two weekends is really pleasing, especially from where I’ve
been placed after the bike”, said Snowsill. “It’s easier to have your team
mate beat you. I think we’ll be having a big party back in Oz when we get
In the men’s event, Whitfield’s renown sprint finish did not let him down
today at the Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup. In what seemed like a replay
from the Beijing Olympic Games, four men came into the finish straight
together side by side: Whitfield, Germany’s Jan Frodeno, who was the man to
pip Whitfield in Beijing, Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt and New Zealand’s Kris
Gemmell. Unlike Beijing however, Whitfield would cross the line first with
an elated roar one second ahead of his chasers in a time of 1 hour 49
minutes and 43 seconds, claiming triathlon’s top payday. After a photo
finish review, the third of the season, it was determined Australia’s Brad
Kahlefeldt just nipped the tall German at the line for second with Frodeno
in third. Gemmell finished fourth.
“That was some payback for last year, in a sporting sense,” said Whitfield
at the finish. “I wanted to get one over on Jan [Frodeno] after last year’s
Olympic Games. I always want to win the races the other guys want to win.
First thing I’m doing is buying this amazing toy house for my daughter
Pippa. She’s been running round the front yard at home and really inspired
Sixty-two athletes hit the warm, calm waters together and almost that entire
group would exit together. With such a large group forming on the bike it
looked to be a runner’s race, but with $200,000 on the line the strong
cyclists were not content to hand it over without a fight. Once a pace had
been set it was attack after attack over the 40 kilometre bike loop keeping
the average speed high at over 42km/hr. Led by the 6’5″ Matt Reed of the
USA, there would be over a dozen attempts to shake things up. None would be
successful however until Reed’s fourth attempt with three laps remaining.
On his wheel was another strong cyclist in Stuart Hayes of Great Britain.
These two put almost a minute on the chasers by the second transition.
Their efforts from the bike showed though and the two soon became the
chasers as the sport’s thoroughbreds took aim. By the end of the first lap
there would be only six: Whitfield, Kahlefeldt, Frodeno, Gemmell with Jarrod
Shoemaker of the USA and Javier Gomez of Spain.
A chess match of race tactics ensued with multiple surges testing each
others’ legs over the next seven kilometres. With only 400 metres to go the
six athletes would spread across the road seemingly waiting for the gun.
Whitfield would be first to go followed closely by Kahlefeldt, Frodeno and
Gemmell, leaving Shoemaker and Gomez behind. With only 50 metres left it
looked as though Whitfield would be overtaken but with a grimace across his
face, pulled a body width away at the finish line to take the $200,000 USD
first place prize.
“It’s been an amazing year with these sprint finishes and today I had a good
one,” commented Kahlefeldt. “I felt really easy out there and thought I
could win it, but Simon [Whitfield] used his experience and placed himself
really well in the last technical section and there was no stopping him. Jan
[Frodeno] and I always seem to come together this year and we got a bit
close in the home straight, but that’s racing.”
“I felt great on the run, but today Simon had the edge,” added Frodeno. “We
kept dropping him, then he would work back up and we couldn’t shake him. He
really did well in the home straight. Brad [Kahlefeldt] and I have raced
really closely this year and we clipped heels in the last bit, but it’s
Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Elite Women – Official Results
Gold – Emma Moffatt (AUS) 1:59:46
Silver – Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:01:19 +1:33
Bronze – Lauren Groves (CAN) 2:01:31 +1:45
4th – Magali di Marco (SUI) 2:01:48 +2:02
5th – Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:02:04 +2:18
6th – Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:02:26 +2:40
7th – Lisa Norden (SWE) 2:02:37 +2:51
8th – Daniela Ryf (SUI) 2:02:59 +3:13
9th – Sarah Haskins (USA) 2:03:26 +3:40
10th – Helen Jenkins (GBR) 2:03:45 +3:59
Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Elite Men – Official Results
Gold – Simon Whitfield (CAN) 1:49:43
Silver – Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) 1:49:44 +:01
Bronze – Jan Frodeno (GER) 1:49:44 +:01
4th – Kris Gemmell (NZL) 1:49:45 +:02
5th – Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) 1:49:47 +:04
6th – Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:49:51 +:08
7th – Brent McMahon (CAN) 1:50:07 +:24
8th – Tim Don (GBR) 1:50:21 +:38
9th – Danyl Sapunov (UKR) 1:50:26 +:43
10th – Ryosuke Yamamoto (JPN) 1:50:32 +:49