With a flat and fast bike course, the Huatulco Triathlon World Cup typically turns into a 5K run for podium spots, and this year’s women’s race continued that tradition. In the end, Germany’s Annika Koch won the title with a fast run, while Canada’s Emy Legault managed to edge out Italy’s Bianca Seregni for the silver medal. Although the Canadian had a dream season with three silver medals at Americas Cup events this year, it was her first World Cup podium.
Seregni motors through the swim
Italian Bianca Seregni blew the rest of the pack away, leaving Canadian Kira Gupta-Baltazar leading the rest of the field. Seregni finished the swim in 9:29, with Gupta-Baltazar leading the rest 21 seconds behind. Legault swam well, reaching the beach 30 seconds behind the fast-swimming Italian. Another Canadian, Alexandrine Coursol, was 40 seconds behind, Dominika Jamnicky 57 seconds as she raced into transition, while Brittany Warly was 1:11 behind.
Sergei rode through the first part of the bike waiting for the chasing group which included Erika Ackerlund and top-seeded Legault to catch up, then, as is typical for the race in Huatulco, the peloton expanded to haste. Before the end of the first of four rounds, the group was at 18 as Legault led the group in the second round.
It wasn’t long into that second lap before another chasing group joined the lead pack, which included most of the pre-race favorites, including Jamnicky. The group of around 35 stayed together until the end of the third round, with Canadians Legault and Gupta-Baltazar leading the pack. Then, suddenly, towards the end of the third lap, Gupta-Baltazar fell on the grass median.
On lap four things started to stretch a bit more as some of the stronger riders started picking up the pace, looking to stretch things out before the race.
Koch pushes the pace
Off the bike, it was Germany’s Annika Koch who flew out of T2 in the lead, but Legault was right on her shoulder and quickly moved forward. Close behind were swim lead Serigni and Brazil’s Luisa Baptista, as well as Austria’s Lisa Peterer, a two-time bronze medalist here in Huatulco. As Koch picked up the pace, Legault marked his moves, staying just behind the German as the two began to pull away from the rest of the women.
On the long downhill towards the end of the round, Legault managed to stretch things out and only Koch was able to stay with her, meaning the pair pulled a gap of around four seconds over Seregni and Mexican Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal .
On the climb to start the second lap, Koch began to open up space on the Canadian, with Serigni appearing to line up Legault as she began to push forward. At the final turn, Seregni was just meters behind Legault, setting up a 1km sprint for the silver medal. Serigni took the lead, but Legault managed to stay on his shoulder, setting up a long downhill sprint to the line.
Koch was on her own as she raced to her first World Cup podium, taking the win in 1:00:02. The drama was left for the silver medal as Legault sprinted to another silver medal after finishing second in two Americas Cup races earlier this year, crossing the line in 1:00:14, with Serigni taking bronze two seconds later (1:00:16).
Jamnicky would take 11th place in 1:00:55, while Coursol would finish 28th in 1:02:14. Gupta-Baltazar was able to regroup for the 39th (1:04:32).