Next stops Yokohama and London as Densham moves forward in Cape Town
27 April 2015
TRIATHLON AUSTRALIA: Australia’s London Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham has continued her comeback to the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit with a pleasing performance in foggy, chilly conditions in Cape Town overnight.
Despite the fact she struggled to get her wetsuit off after a shortened swim (due to the cold water conditions) Densham clawed her way back into the middle of the field on the bike.
The 29-year-old from Campbelltown was equal fifth out of the water alongside South African local Marie Rabi and behind eventual silver medallist Kate Zaferes (USA), Helen Jenkins (GBR), Claudia Rivas (MEX) and Rachel Klammer (NED).
After the 10km run she finished 21st in the field of 48 in only her second race back on the ITU WTS after making her return on the Gold Coast a fortnight ago, as she sets herself for a third Olympic campaign in Rio next year.
“I had a really good swim, I’m really excited about that; but I couldn’t get my wetsuit off and I ended up well back in the field,” said Densham.
“I think I must have been fifth out of the water; then I was just so far back; it was frustrating.
“But we were lucky we got back together on the bike.
“This is my second race back and I definitely felt better than at the Gold Coast (where she was 18th) although the result doesn’t show it.
“But I definitely did things better than I did on the Gold Coast and I’m actually really happy.
“I really liked the course here in Cape Town; it’s technical on the bike which suits me; the different surfaces make it really interesting and then the run’s the same; it’s twisty, turny.
“If I was in better shape I would have loved it. But I’m happy with how that panned out.”
The race saw Great Britain’s Vicky Holland break through for her maiden WTS victory ahead of new Series leader Zaferes with London Olympic gold medallist Nicola Spirig (SUI) taking the bronze in her return to the WTS.
And as far as Spirig was concerned, a bronze medal was quite satisfactory as like Densham she was just thrilled to be competing again on the WTS circuit.
““I am extremely happy, it is like winning for me because I had a great time here in Cape Town. I had some good days, my family is here and I just ran a marathon last week so it was a lot of fun,” Spirig said.
“I was surprised how strong I was on the bike, so I just enjoyed it.”
Not even a stumble on the run could stop Great Britain's Alistair Brownlee‘s return to the top of the World Triathlon Series podium in Cape Town on Sunday, as the most successful athlete in series history took his total number of titles to 18.
While he tripped early on in the run, Brownlee made his way up to the lead group of Javier Gomez Noya, Richard Murray and Vincent Luis quickly, before blowing them away in the final 1500m.
In his first WTS race in 2015 after returning from injury, Brownlee said he wasn’t sure what to expect, but was obviously thrilled with the result.
“Of course you never know, all you can do is train as hard as you can and put everything in that you can on the day. I knew I wasn’t that fit and I didn’t have good legs in that first lap to be honest… The whole thing was tough, but I’m so glad to have the win,” Brownlee said.
Behind Brownlee, Javier Gomez Noya finished strongly to claim silver and take over the lead in the Columbia Threadneedle rankings.
While already a multiple World Triathlon Series medallist in sprint distance races, Vincent Luis was yet to take one in Olympic distance. That all changed in Cape Town when he staged a final lap comeback, overtaking Richard Murray to capture bronze.
Australia's London Olympian Brendan Sexton finished 15th, while Dan Wilson crossed the line in 22nd.
Erin Densham will continue her ITU campaign when she joins fellow Olympic bronze medallist Emma Moffatt and London team mate Emma Jackson in a six-strong Australian women’s team for the next round in Yokohama on May 16, a team that also includes Gillian Backhouse, Ashleigh Gentle and Charlotte McShane.
They will be joined by six men in dual Olympian Courtney Atkinson, Commonwealth Games trio Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie and Dan Wilson, two-time World Championship representative Cameron Good and ITU rookie and ITU World Junior silver medallist Jake Birtwhistle, who will make his second appearance after debuting in Auckland.
At the London Series race on May 30 and 31, Australia are set to be represented by Densham, Jackson, Backhouse and McShane will be joined by Natalie Van Coevorden, as well as Royle, Bailie and Birtwhistle. Joining them will be London Olympian Brendan Sexton and youngsters Ryan Fisher and Declan Wilson.