Tutkin won with a thrilling sprint to the line over Malyshev and Portugal’s Joao Pereira. In the women’s race it was all about Aussie Erin Densham, who broke away from the rest of the field on the first of four run laps to win by 37 seconds in very hot conditions in the Netherlands.
While Russians Alexander Brukhankov and Dmitry Polyansky are in the driver’s seat of ITU World Championship Rankings, the rest of the Russian team isn’t taking a back seat. Ivan Tutukin and Yulian Malyshev finished first and second at Saturday’s Holten ITU World Cup to continue a story book season for the Russian team.
After a quick swim the men were led out of the first transition by Frenchman Aurelien Raphael, who won the Brasschaat Premium European Cup in Belgium two weeks ago. Onto the bike, Australian Brendan Sexton forced a break on the third lap, and was eventually joined by teammate Joshua Amberger on the fifth and final lap.
The Aussies set out onto the run course through downtown Holten with a 23-second advantage on the main group, but they could not hold off the hard-running Russians. In the end it came down to a four-man sprint to the finish, with Tutukin holding off teammate Malyshev by only two seconds to take the win in 1:54:21. Pereira of Portugal finished one second back of Malyshev, with Brice Daubord of France rounding out the sprint in fourth, another three seconds back.
"I feel great and I’m very happy about this win," Tutukin said at the finish. "I was not too happy with the way my season started, but I put in some good training since then and I was really focused on this race. It really helped that I spent the last two weeks training in very hot conditions because it was very hot out there today."
In the women’s race, few were surprised to see American Hayley Peirsol jump to the front during the 1,500-metre swim in Lake Domelaar. The American set out of the 40-kilometre bike course with a 45-second advantage on Densham, Czech Radka Vodickova and local favourite Lisa Mensink, who led the main chase pack. The group caught Peirsol only 8 kilometres into the ride, as a chase group of 18 women broke away from the rest to build a one-minute gap.
The crowd had plenty to cheer for as Mensink and fellow Dutchwoman Neiske Becks led the front pack into T2, but it didn’t take long for Densham to surge and break away from the rest of the leaders. The Aussie continued to build her lead throughout the 10-kilometre run, finishing in 2:01:27.
"I love racing in the Netherlands and that was definitely one of the best courses I’ve ever done," Densham said. "My swim really set me up for the rest of the race and everything just seemed to go well from there. I really don’t mind racing in the heat – I enjoyed the conditions today – so I think that really played into my favour as well."
Anna Maria Mazzetti of Italy had a strong run to finish second, with Vodickova of the Czech Republic rounding out the podium. Australia’s Felicity Sheedy-Ryan and Emma Jackson finished fourth and sixth, respectively, putting three Australian women in the top six. Maaike Caelers’s fifth-place finish was the best for the Dutch, as teammates Mensink and Becks eighth and ninth, respectively.