CHENGDU, China – U.S. triathlete Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) earned a bronze medal, while Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.) placed fifth at an ITU Triathlon World Cup stop in Chengdu, China, on Sunday.
The race was the first World Cup of the season to feature a semifinal format, with sprint-distance qualifying heats on Saturday and super-sprint A and B finals on Sunday.
Saturday’s semifinals consisted of a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course. The top half of the field in each of two heats, including Kasper and Burns, advanced to Sunday’s A final, which covered a 400m swim, 10k bike and 2.5k run.
Great Britain’s Non Stanford broke the tape in the final round, collecting her first-ever World Cup victory. Germany’s Laura Lindemann placed second, while Kasper took third to earn her fifth career World Cup podium.
Kasper finished the 400m swim in the top five and joined with a lead group of about 14 women on the bike, though the chase pack was less than 200m behind. China’s Chunyan Xiong started the run in front, but Kasper, Stanford and Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat were right on her heels. In a matter of seconds, Stanford moved into the lead position and Kasper pulled into second.
While Stanford never let up her lead and took the eventual win in 29 minutes, 36 seconds, Lindemann overtook Kasper to take the runner-up spot in 29:40. Kasper held onto her podium position, outsprinting Belgium’s Claire Michel to finish in 29:42.
“I was in second on the run, and said to myself, ‘I am getting on this podium today.’ I didn’t come all the way here not to make that podium, so I was very determined to get to that line,” said Kasper, who returns to the World Cup podium for the first time since her win in Salinas, Ecuador, last year. “I ran at Georgetown University, so running is what I’ve been doing all my life. I definitely have confidence when it comes to the run, and I knew I could push all the way.”
Burns also had a strong race, making her way from the middle of the pack into fifth place with an 8:07 run split. She finished with a total time of 29:48, just five seconds back from Michel.
Erin Storie (Hood River, Ore.) raced in the women’s B final, finishing third in 32:11 behind Australia’s Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (31:52) and Italy’s Alessia Orla (32:10).
Kasper and a strong contingent of U.S. athletes are set to compete next weekend at the third World Triathlon Series stop of the season in Yokohama, Japan.
2017 Chengdu ITU Triathlon World Cup
400m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run
Elite Women – Complete Results
1. Non Stanford (GBR), 29:36
2. Laura Lindemann (GER), 29:40
3. Kirsten Kasper (USA), 29:42
4. Claire Michel (BEL), 29:43
5. Chelsea Burns (USA), 29:48
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).