Sweden’s Lisa Norden overcomes jetlag, loose handlebars and an extra motivated Sarah Haskins to win the 2012 Women’s Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship Elite Cup race for the second year in a row.
The win was a perfect end to a nearly perfect month of racing for the 28-year-old world champion and London Olympic silver medalist, who missed out on a gold medal in an historic photo finish. But she bounced back quickly, first snagging a win this past weekend in her hometown race, ITU Stockholm, then taking care of business at Hy-Vee.
“I don’t think these last five weeks could have been any better despite the .09 seconds or whatever in London. But today definitely makes up for it,” Norden said.
Defending her Hy-Vee title was anything but easy. From the beginning Sarah Haskins (USA) swam her way to a commanding lead. She came out of the water first on both swim laps and her strong showing continued on the bike course as she collected the first six lap premiums, worth $5,150 each, but Norden began gaining ground.
Haskins said she was bothered by the heat on the bike leg on a 90°C day in Des Moines.
“It was brutally hot, and the helmet made it feel like a sauna,” she said. “I knew she was right behind me because I started the run conservatively. This course was hard.”
The hard course helped Norden stay close despite her handle bars coming loose.
“I was so stupid there,” Norden said. “We made a thousand adjustments but the bars came loose and I lost 40 seconds there. I had to start over chasing her down.”
Norden eventually caught Haskins on the first lap of the run, and from there the rest was history.
With today’s win Norden joined Rasmus Henning (DEN) as the only other back-to-back Hy-Vee champion.
“Rasmus is a bit of an idol for me,” Norden said. “I’ve always been able to call him for advice and he’s always been a great role model. Winning double Hy-Vee’s is incredible.”
Joining Norden and Haskins on the podium was GB’s Jodie Stimpson.