ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) led the U.S. men at the Astana ITU Triathlon World Cup in Kazakhstan on Saturday with a career-best seventh-place finish. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.) was the top U.S. woman, placing 10th in just her second ITU World Cup start.
The first-time ITU World Cup host city planned an Olympic-distance race featuring a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run — but the women, who were first to race on the day, faced cold and windy conditions in the morning. Race organizers were forced to cancel the swim to ensure athlete safety, changing the format to a duathlon featuring a 5k run, 40k bike and 10k run.
Temperatures warmed later in the day to allow the men to swim a shortened course, so they faced a 750-meter swim, 40k bike and 10k run.
In the women’s race, Ackerlund completed the first 5k run in 17:52 — putting herself in 15th position, but just eight seconds back from the leader. She caught onto the front pack of 18 women on the bike, and was still in the mix at the start of the second run. Her 37:47 10k was enough to put her in 10th place overall, as she crossed the line with a final time of 1:59:19.
Ackerlund improved one spot from her ITU World Cup debut last year in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, a race that was also changed to a duathlon.
No one could compete with France’s Sandra Dodet, who was the only woman to run her 10k in under 36 minutes to take the win in 1:57:14. Her compatriot Emilie Morier claimed silver in 1:57:51, and Italy’s Angelica Olmo rounded out the podium in 1:57:55.
Also competing for the U.S. was Sarah Alexander (Shaker Heights, Ohio), who ended up 41st in 2:07:59.
In the men’s race, Smoragiewicz finished the 750-meter swim in the lower half of the field and had some ground to make up on the bike. He missed the nine-man lead pack, but joined a large group of chasers. By the time they hit the second transition, they were just over a minute down from the leaders.
Smoragiewicz then put down an outstanding 10k run split of 31:31 — the third-fastest in the field — to run his way up to seventh place with a time of 1:38:00. With that performance, he topped his previous ITU World Cup best finish of 10th, which he earned in Sarasota-Bradenton last year.
Russia’s Dmitry Polyanskiy claimed the win in 1:36:50, followed by Australia’s Marcel Walkington in 1:37:06. Raphael Aurelien of France earned bronze, crossing the line in 1:37:24.
Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.) also raced for the U.S. men, placing 37th with a time of 1:40:27.
The ITU Triathlon World Cup season continues with a sprint-distance stop in Cagliari, Italy, on June 2. Smoragiewicz and Chartier are both on the start list for the men’s race.
Astana ITU Triathlon World Cup
Elite Women — Complete Results
5k run, 40k bike, 10k run
1. Sandra Dodet (FRA), 1:57:14
2. Emilie Morier (FRA), 1:57:51
3. Angelica Olmo (ITA), 1:57:55
10. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), 1:59:19
41. Sarah Alexander (Shaker Heights, Ohio), 2:07:59
Elite Men — Complete Results
750m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
1. Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS), 1:36:50
2. Marcel Walkington (AUS), 1:37:06
3. Raphael Aurelien (FRA), 1:37:24
7. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 1:38:00
37. Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.), 1:40:27
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).