TONGYEONG, South Korea — As the 2016 season winds down, U.S. elite triathletes picked up three of six medals on Saturday at the Tongyeong ITU World Cup, led by Summer Cook’s second World Cup gold of the season.
Cook (Thornton, Colo.) had the fastest run split of the day among the women to win the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run event in 59 minutes, 43 seconds. Cook won her first career World Cup title in April in Chengdu, China, then claimed her first ITU World Triathlon Series title in Edmonton, Alberta, in August. Her 5k run split of 16:41 on Saturday was 16 seconds faster than runner-up Ai Ueda of Japan, who finished in 59:54.
Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.) rounded out the podium in 1:00:15 for her second straight ITU World Cup podium, following a win in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary, in July. Both Cook and Tomlin are graduates of the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program. Jessica Broderick (Boulder, Colo.) finished 10th.
Cook positioned herself at the front of the field through the race, leading out of the water by 8 seconds ahead of Broderick. While a group of 24 women came together on the bike, Cook, Broderick and Tomlin were still in position to make a move once on the run. Cook surged ahead in the final 2.5k of the run to capture the title.
In the men’s race, Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was caught in a sprint finish for the podium and was awarded the silver medal–his second straight World Cup silver medal of the season. Spain’s Uxio Abuin Ares was crowned champion in 53:39, just one second ahead of McElroy’s 53:40. Vladimir Turbayevskiy of Russia and Rostislav Pevtsov of Azerbaijan also clocked in at 53:40 in a photo finish, with Turbayevskiy claiming bronze and Pevtsov just off the podium in fourth.
McElroy is a relative newcomer to the ITU circuit, having competed in his first international event in July 2015. He trailed the leaders coming out of the water by nearly 30 seconds, but made up for lost time on the bike to move into prime position on the run. Though he was hanging with compatriots Greg Billington (Spokane, Wash.) and Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.) at the start of the final run lap, McElroy kept pace with the charging trio that would be in the mix for the podium in the final meters of the race. McElroy’s run split of 15:19 was the fourth fastest of the day. McDowell finished sixth, with Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) finishing ninth and Billington tenth.
Just one ITU World Cup remains for the season, and will be contested next weekend in Miyazaki, Japan.