Top-Ranked American Finishes Tenth in WCS Series
September 12, 2010 (Budapest, Hungary) – Olympian Laura Bennett ran her way to an eighth-place finish Sunday at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final to secure the No. 10 spot in the final WCS series rankings.
Continuing her late-season surge with a fourth consecutive top-10 WCS finish, Bennett posted a time of 1 hour, 51 minutes, 36 seconds on the Olympic-distance course (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run). With Sunday’s showing, Bennett locked up her top ITU world ranking since finishing seventh in 2007. She finishes the year as the top-ranked American for the fifth time in her career.
Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who finished 15th in the series rankings, crossed the finish line in 20th in 1:53:04 to join Bennett in the top 20. Rounding out the U.S. finishers were Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.) in 28th, Jillian Petersen (St. Louis, Mo.) in 32nd, Alicia Kaye (Maynard, Mass.) in 45th and Mary Beth Ellis (Boulder, Colo.) in 49th.
Australian Emma Snowsill ran away with the win Sunday by nearly 2 minutes over series champion Emma Moffatt, also of Australia.
After putting in her usual solid swim effort, Bennett left T1 in third, trailing only Haskins and Helen Jenkins of Great Britain. She stayed with the lead pack throughout the scenic 40k bike and made a move from the back of the pack to the front with two laps remaining.
“It was just as hard at the back of the pack as it was at the front of the pack,” said Bennett, who entered T2 in ninth. “The last lap or so I just tried to just hold the rhythm with the front. Maybe that took a little out of my first 5k, but I don’t know.”
Once on the run, Bennett drifted to 13th at the first turnaround but kept the chase pack in sight. On the final lap, Bennett joined a group of seven women gunning for the podium before finishing in eighth, just 8 seconds out of medal position.
“On the run, I just tried to keep up, and they’d pull away and I’d try to get back on,” said Bennett. “I had to make a surge down at the roundabout on the last lap and get back on them, but they had enough cruising at the front to hurt me the last 800 meters.”
Haskins was first out of the water in the wetsuit swim, but a slower-than-usual transition kept her from taking that lead onto the bike course. “It was very key, especially in this type of racing,” said Haskins about her quick swim split of 18:04. “Unfortunately, I had … rough transitions on both of them … so I lost about 5-10 seconds to Helen (Jenkins). She was just out so fast.”
Recently slowed by a calf strain, Haskins was 27th out of T2 and was unable to move up higher than 16th place on the run before finishing 20th. “I felt okay on the run, but I just didn’t have that one extra gear to get me into the top 10,” she said.
Over the final four WCS events, Bennett finished eighth, seventh, fifth and eighth, respectively, to lock up her standing as the No. 1 American this season and put her in position to make a run at a second straight Olympic team in 2012.
“It’s fantastic to have so many girls racing at the front and going head to head. I’m really enjoying it,” said Bennett. “I’m not enjoying getting eighth, but you know this year is definitely a build into the next three, so it’s on the right track, and I’m looking forward to next year and building into it. I’m happy to finish in the top 10 this year.”
1. Emma Snowsill (AUS), 1:49:43 ($30,000)
2. Emma Moffatt (AUS), 1:51:26 ($22,000)
3. Nicola Spirig (SUI), 1:51:28 ($16,000)
United States Finishers
8. Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), 1:51:36 ($4,800)
20. Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:53:04
28. Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.), 1:53:49
32. Jillian Petersen (St. Louis, Mo.), 1:54:08
45. Alicia Kaye (Maynard, Mass.), 1:57:19
49. Mary Beth Ellis (Boulder, Colo.), 1:59:14