Taking four of the six medals on offer, the Russian team managed a clean sweep of the men’s podium as Dmitry Polyansky, Alexander Brukhankov and Ivan Tutukin went one-two-three whilst Irina Abysova took her first ever ITU Triathlon World Cup podium to collect silver in the women’s race.
The big story of the women’s race was New Zealand’s Kate McIlroy who won her first ITU Triathlon World Cup in the hot conditions of Tiszaujvaros. The former world mountain running champion and national steeplechase record holder sprinted away from Abysova to win in a time of 2:00:48.
A small lead group of nine formed in the 1500m swim and they managed to stay away on the bike, opening up a 50 second lead over the dangerous runners such as Australia’s Beijing Olympian Erin Densham and Yuliya Sapunova from the Ukraine. Hard work from Great Britain’s Vanessa Raw and Vicky Holland opened up the advantage over 40km of cycling which set up the race for the leaders.
Abysova was the first to make her move, accelerating out of transition and into the lead. McIlroy bided her time and made contact with 5km of running to go, sticking to the Russian before surging away in the final kilometre. Further back it was the Australian pairing of Felicity Sheedy-Ryan and Densham who ran through for third and fourth with Sapunova in fifth. Zita Szabo from Hungary delighted the home crowd with sixth.
“I had a pretty good swim and then chased down the front two early on the bike, but once we got there we all worked well,” said McIlroy who switched sports following an Achilles tendon injury. “I was a little bit worried that I had worked too hard on the bike but I slowly eased into my running and eventually, despite the heat, managed to open up a gap and get away. I felt pretty good, I’m very happy. I’m heading to London next weekend for the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series before going back to New Zealand to prepare for the Grand Final on the Gold Coast in Australia.”
Abysova commented: “It was a good race because I had a great swim and a great bike and then enjoyed a super run. I was just thinking ‘faster, faster, faster’, but Kate [McIlroy] had too much.”
With the Russians enjoying their most successful day of ITU Triathlon World Cup history, they swept aside every other nation in the men’s race as Dmitry Polyansky crossed the line to win in a time of 1:48:45 with Alexander Brukhankov nine seconds behind. Ivan Tutukin ran his way into third as Russia went on to place four in the top five.
It was the Russian men who pushed the early pace as they forced an early breakaway with Denis Vasiliev orchestrating the early push of pace as the top ten men out of the 1500m swim escaped into the bike. As they shared the pacing between them the chase pack could only maintain a gap of thirty seconds as the small breakaway tried to make the most of the technical bike course.
The relentless work of Australia’s James Seear brought the chasers back into contention with just 10km of cycling to go, and a pack of 28 men exited second transition with 10km of running separating them from the finish tape.
Polyansky and Brukhankov quickly set the early pace, surging away from the chasers and pulling out a sizeable advantage. With just one kilometre to go Polyansky made his decisive move, pulling himself clear of the finishing kick of Brukhankov. Further back it look as though Volodymyr Polikarpenko from the Ukraine would take the bronze medal, however he faded on the final 2.5km lap allowing Tutukin onto the podium making it a clean sweep for the Russians. Gregory Rouault from France came through late on to take fourth.
Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup, Hungary
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Elite Women – Official Results
Gold – Kate McIlroy (NZL) 2:00:48
Silver – Irina Abysova (RUS) 2:00:52 +0:04
Bronze – Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) 2:01:24 +0:36
Elite Men – Official Results
Gold – Dmitry Polyansky (RUS) 1:48:45
Silver – Alexander Brukhankov (RUS) 1:48:54 +0:09
Bronze – Ivan Tutukin (RUS) 1:49:49 +1:04
Photos: ITU/Janos Schmidt