SARASOTA, Florida — Chelsea Sodaro (Poway, Calif.) earned her first career World Cup medal on Saturday, taking silver at the Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon World Cup at Nathan Benderson Park. The race, which featured athletes from 16 countries, marks the first ITU World Cup to come to the United States since 2009.
The event also served as the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships, with the top-three U.S. finishers earning national championship podiums.
The course was shifted from a triathlon to a duathlon (run-bike-run) after algae levels in the lake due to recent weather conditions forced a cancellation of the swim leg. The elite women covered a 5-kilometer run, 36.6-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run course, racing in hot and humid midday conditions.
Sodaro, one of the strongest runners on the ITU World Cup circuit, finished the first 5k run about 10 seconds ahead of the field. She joined with a group of 10 women on the bike, which included Japanese legend Juri Ide, ITU World Triathlon Series bronze medalist Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), U.S. National Team members Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), and several other top-seeded athletes.
The pack of 10 was still together at the end of the 36.6k bike, leaving the medal positions to be decided on the run. Ide and Sodaro ran the first of four 2.5k laps together, but Ide began to pull away after that as Sodaro managed her effort in the heat. By the time they hit the bell lap, Ide had about a minute on a three-woman chase group of Sodaro, Maaike Caelers of the Netherlands and Julia Hauser of Austria.
Ide crossed the line first in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 21 seconds, and Sodaro came through in silver-medal position in 2:05:18. Hauser grabbed the third overall podium spot in 2:05:31.
The silver marked Sodaro’s first career World Cup podium, with her previous performances being two seventh-place finishes at the Karlovy Vary and Huelva ITU Triathlon World Cup events in September.
“I did feel confident going in, but on the other hand, duathlons are extremely challenging events. It doesn’t matter how strong of a runner you are, when you have to run 15k and bike about 40k in this kind of heat, it’s going to be a tough one for everyone out there,” Sodaro said. “Mostly, I was just running my pace and trying to execute the race plan that my coach, Paulo Sousa, gave me. I knew that I would have the finish at the end when it counted, so I just tried to hang in there and run as efficiently as possible.”
Caelers ended up in fourth place (2:05:49), and Spivey and Burns followed close behind in fifth (2:09:46) and sixth respectively (2:10:09). As the second and third-placing Americans, Spivey and Burns also earned silver and bronze medals on the USA Triathlon Elite Nationals podium.
The men’s ITU World Cup will be contested at the same venue and on the same course Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The top-ranked men on the start list are Henri Schoeman of South Africa at No. 1, Crisanto Grajales of Mexico at No. 2 and Kevin McDowell of the United States (Geneva, Ill.) at No. 3. Tomorrow’s race will also serve as the men’s USA Triathlon Elite National Championships.
The World Cup races are part of the larger Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival, a weekend of racing at Nathan Benderson Park that also includes paratriathlon, women’s collegiate and age-group races. An Age Group Open sprint race covering a 2.5k run, 18k bike and 5k run is set for tomorrow morning at 7:10 a.m. ET, and the ITU Paratriathlon World Cup covering a 2.5k run, 18.3k bike and 5k run is set for 10 a.m. ET.
For complete event information for the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival, visit usatriathlon.org/2017sbtrifest.
Sarasota-Bradenton ITU Triathlon World Cup (course changed to duathlon)
5k run, 40k bike, 10k run
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Juri Ide (JPN), 2:04:21
2. Chelsea Sodaro (Poway, Calif.), 2:05:18
3. Julia Hauser (AUT), 2:05:31
1. Chelsea Sodaro (Poway, Calif.), 2:05:18
5. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 2:09:46
6. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 2:10:09
11. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), 2:11:52
16. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 2:16:00
17. Sonja Kent (West Boylston, Mass.), 2:17:39
18. Erin Storie (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:18:58
19. Rachel Pearson (Forest Park, Ill.), 2:20:27
Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.), DNF
Sarah Alexander (Shaker Heights, Ohio), DNF
Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), DNF
Teresa Groton (West Point, N.Y.), LAP
USA Triathlon Elite National Championships
1. Chelsea Sodaro (Poway, Calif.), 2:05:18
2. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 2:09:46
3. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 2:10:09
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).