CHENGDU, China — Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) reached the ITU Triathlon World Cup podium for the second time in her career with a silver-medal performance in Chengdu, China, on Sunday. Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) placed sixth in the men’s race, leading the U.S. men with a career-best World Cup finish.
The race featured a semifinal format, with sprint-distance qualifying heats (750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run) on Saturday and super-sprint A and B finals (400m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run) on Sunday. The top half of the field in each of two semifinal heats for the women and three semifinal heats for the men advanced to Sunday’s A finals.
In the women’s A final, Gorman had a strong swim and exited the water right on the heels of Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat. She and Jeffcoat joined Japan’s Fuka Sega and Germany's Bianca Bogen to form a lead pack on the bike, building about a 15-second gap on the chasers heading into the second transition.
Jeffcoat covered the 2.5k run course in 8 minutes, 27 seconds, surging away from the field to take the win in 31:20. Gorman crossed the line seven seconds later to collect silver, and Sega rounded out the podium in 31:34 for the bronze.
“It worked out perfectly coming in today,” Gorman said. “I was pretty confident with a really relaxed day yesterday, and I was happy to go out there and go hard the whole time.”
The podium is the first of the season for Gorman, after a stellar 2017 that saw her earn the Under-23 World Championships title and a silver medal at the Salinas ITU World Cup.
Also competing in the women’s A final were Sophie Chase (Carlsbad, Calif.), who placed 11th in 32:36, and Mary Alex England (Carlsbad, Calif.), who was 25th in 34:07.
In the men’s race, Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) was second out of the water in 6:15, just one second back from Slovakia’s Richard Varga. Without much of a gap on the rest of the field, the two quickly found themselves in a massive pack on the bike that also included Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) and Pearson.
While Smoragiewicz rode near the front and looked like he might go for the breakaway, no one gained an advantage over the 10k course. The whole group came into transition together, leaving the medals to be decided in a 2.5k sprint.
Azerbaijan’s Rostislav Pevtsov — who had taken silver at this race for the past three consecutive years — ultimately took the win with a 7:03 run split and total time of 28:18. France’s Felix Duchampt claimed the silver, outsprinting bronze medalist Rodrigo Gonzalez of Mexico at the line. Both athletes recorded finishing times of 28:20.
Pearson, a former NCAA track and cross-country runner at the University of Colorado, ran his way to sixth with a total time of 28:29. Sunday’s race marks only the third ITU World Cup start of Pearson’s career, and his second time placing in the top-10.
Rider also placed top-10 with a time of 28:32, and Smoragiewicz ended up 24th in 29:01.
A strong contingent of U.S. athletes, including Gorman and Pearson, will compete in the third stop of the ITU World Triathlon Series next Saturday in Yokohama, Japan. The ITU Triathlon World Cup season then continues with a race in Astana, Kazakhstan, on May 19.
2018 Chengdu ITU Triathlon World Cup (A Final)
400m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Emma Jeffcoat (AUS), 31:20
2. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 31:27
3. Fuka Sega (JPN), 31:34
2. Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), 31:27
11. Sophie Chase (Carlsbad, Calif.), 32:26
25. Mary Alex England (Carlsbad, Calif.), 34:07
Elite Men — Complete Results
1. Rostislav Pevtsov (AZE), 28:18
2. Felix Duchampt (FRA), 28:20
3. Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX), 28:20
6. Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.), 28:29
10. Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.), 28:32
24. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 29:01
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).