The Valencia waterfront filled with spectators for Saturday afternoon’s World Cup that saw 65 women taking to the sprint-distance course on a hot and humid afternoon on the Spanish coast.
After strong recent podiums at WTCS Hamburg and Pontevedra World Cup, it was Germany’s Lisa Tertsch who was able to strike gold, coming through a relentless three-way battle to take the tape. It had been Mexico’s Anahi Alvarez Corral and Leonie Periault of France on her shoulder for the majority of the 5km finale, Alvarez eventually scoring a superb first World Cup podium with silver, Periault confirming her form is right back where she wants it in third.
“The run was interesting! I was like ‘I can do it, and just do my best’ - and with that I was able to run pretty freely,” said a delighted Tertsch. “I was happy we were three and not four to be honest, and I felt like I could give it a go, but even at the last turn it was really close so I just gave it my all to get there.”
Race number one Kirsten Kasper took up her position on the very far left of the harbour start line with teammate Summer Rappaport, Nina Eim for Germany on the far right looking to use the short pier as a guide to the first buoy.
The American duo were predictability fast out, Switzerland’s Anja Weber likewise through the middle of the field. Mathilde Gautier (FRA), Maryna Kyryk (UKR) and Maria Santamaria Surroca (ESP) were also flying as the leaders emerged from the water and into transition, but out onto the bikes first it was Rappaport, Santamaria and Gautier riding solo.
The trio didn’t stay out alone for long, the likes of Ainsley Thorpe (NZL), Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) and Sara Vilic (AUT) were soon up on them and forming a big front pack of over 20 athletes, Eim and Kyryk also pulling up on them and coming through together at the end of lap one.
Lisa Perterer (AUT) was trying to drive on the chasers, Luisa Baptista (BRA) struggling further back to keep the pace on, and they were also soon pulled into the huge train that snaked through the final lap, taking no risks but plenty of fluids ahead of the run.
Bike racked right alongside Kasper, it was Tertsch immediately on the pace and bounding out of transition while the American struggled with her shoes, Switzerland’s Nora Gmur, Charlotte McShane (AUS) and Annika Koch (GER) also in hot pursuit.
Rappaport soon passed Hauser as the Austrian then fell back but by the time they approached the bell there was clear daylight for a front trio that was in total sync.
From that halfway mark, the trio just kept extending their advantage over a field that could find no reply and it became a three-way battle for the medals and a four-way for fourth.
Tertsch’s first attack came on the stroke of 54 minutes into the race as the dead turn onto the blue carpet approached, Alvarez responding well, but at that last 180 the German’s arms were pumping and the stride lengthened to take the tape from the Mexican, Periault in third.
Barthelemy won the chase for fourth from Gautier, Rappaport and Hauser, Spain’s Noelia Juan the highest-finishing Spaniard in eighth, Marlene Gomez Goggel (GER) and Gina Sereno (USA) rounding out the top ten.
For the full results, click here.