Katie Zaferes Wins, Matt McElroy Takes Second at New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup

By USA Triathlon | April 01, 2017, 8:41 p.m. (ET)

 

NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand — U.S. Olympian Katie Zaferes won her second New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup title in New Zealand on Sunday, while Matt McElroy ran his way to a second-place finish for his third career World Cup podium.

Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), who was also the 2014 race champion, finished the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course in 59 minutes, 28 seconds. 

It marked the fourth consecutive year that the race has been won by a U.S. woman, with Kaitlin Donner winning in 2015 and Gwen Jorgensen taking top honors last year.

Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) led the field out of the water and was joined by several Americans and New Zealanders in the first bike pack. The packs merged on the first lap, but Zaferes, Taylor Spivey (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) kept the pace strong at the front of the group. 

Zaferes led the field onto the run, but missed a turn that caused her to drop back to sixth. She was able to regroup, though, powering up the final hill to take the lead with 400m to go. Zaferes finished just one second ahead of runner-up Joanna Brown of Canada and two seconds ahead of Claire Michel of Belgium in third.

Spivey’s race culminated in a sprint finish with Brown and Michel, as she finished just off the podium in fourth.

The athletes faced rainy conditions, a non-wetsuit swim and a slick, technical bike course.

“I enjoy the cold and find that to be a strength, so it kind of gave me confidence to know that it would be a bit chilly and not the perfect conditions,” Zaferes said. “On the bike, everyone was pushing from the very beginning and it was just a constant, really strong ride all the way through. For me, it was great practice because I don’t tend to be one of the best tactically and technically on the course, so today I really wanted to make sure I nailed that. I wanted to make sure I was in the right place, and every time you hear someone go down in the back you’re thankful that you’re in the right place. I’m really happy with how I executed it.” 

For the men’s race, the rain intensified and the water temperature dropped to allow a wetsuit swim. Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.) was the top American out of the water in fifth, followed closely by Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) and Tommy Zaferes (Soquel, Calif.) in the lead pack. McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) started the bike about 15 seconds back from the leaders, but was able to work with the chase pack to bridge the gap. 

Kanute led into transition and charged onto the run, with McElroy in a chase group of about six – but on the second lap, McElroy made a surge and ran his way into second place with a finishing time of 54 minutes, 43 seconds. South Africa’s Richard Murray won his third consecutive New Plymouth title in 54:37, while New Zealand’s Ryan Sissons took third on home soil in 54:46.

“I’m excited about the result, I’ve being training a lot the last couple of months. To open up the season with second place is awesome,” McElroy said. “On the bike I was a bit worried, but we worked really hard in the chase pack to get up to the front pack.”

The World Cup podium was the third in McElroy’s career after earning silvers in Tongyeong, South Korea, and Salinas, Ecuador, during the 2016 season.

Many of the competitors in today’s race will travel to Gold Coast, Australia, next week for the second ITU World Triathlon Series stop of the season. Both the men’s and women’s races are set for Saturday, April 8.

2017 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run


Elite Women – Complete Results
1. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), 59:28
2. Joanna Brown (CAN), 59:29
3. Claire Michel (BEL), 59:30 

U.S. Finishers
1. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), 59:28
4. Taylor Spivey (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), 59:33
6. Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), 59:45
7. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 59:51
9. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 1:00:07
10. Sarah True (Cooperstown, N.Y.), 1:00:27

Elite Men – Complete Results 

1. Richard Murray (RSA), 54:37
2. Matthew McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 54:43
3. Ryan Sissons (NZL), 54:46

U.S. Finishers
2. Matthew McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 54:43
8. Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.), 55:14
11. Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) 55:28
DNF Tommy Zaferes (Soquel, Calif.)
DNS Greg Billington (Spokane, Wash.)

 

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).