Hemming Grabs First ITU World Cup Medal, Tomlin Continues Comeback with Bronzes in Tongyeong

By USA Triathlon | Oct. 27, 2018, 11:48 a.m. (ET)

TONGYEONG, South Korea — Eli Hemming and Renée Tomlin each picked up bronze medals Saturday at the Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup, using their closing speed on the run to reach the podium in a pair of close sprint-distance races. The bronze is Hemming’s first medal on the ITU World Cup circuit, while Tomlin earned her second medal of the season and eighth of her career to mark a successful comeback from an early-season injury. 

The course in Tongyeong featured a 750-meter swim off the southern coast of South Korea, followed by a hilly 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run on the streets of the port city. 

In the men’s race, Australia’s Marcel Walkington was first out of the water in 9 minutes, 2 seconds — but he had a large pack right on his heels, including U.S. athletes Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.), Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.) and Collin Chartier (Faiirfax, Va.). 

Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) was about 20 seconds down from Walkington after the swim, but close enough to join the lead pack on the bike. While a few athletes attempted breakaways over the three-lap course, no one was able to stay out front. A massive group was still together at the second transition as the contenders all prepared for a running race. 

Rider was the first out of transition, but a strong group of runners soon surged ahead, including Hemming, Italy’s Alessandro Fabian, Switzerland’s Max Struder, France’s Felix Duchampt, Australia’s Brandon Copeland and Israel’s Amitai Yonah.

In the final kilometer, it was Studer, Duchampt and Hemming who pulled away from the field. The trio looked to be the likely podium, but a sprint finish would determine the top spot. Studer had the strongest kick, taking gold with a total time of 53 minutes, 56 seconds. Duchampt was just one second behind for silver, while Hemming crossed the line in 54:01 to collect the bronze.

“For the first part of the run, I was holding on for dear life. Fabian (Alessandro) was pushing it pretty hard, so I was just trying to stick with the pack and see if I could wait until the end for a little bit of a sprint,” Hemming said. “I’m super happy with where my fitness is. It means a whole lot to get a World Cup podium at the end of the season.” 

Rider went on to finish 11th in 54:26, his fourth top-15 finish on the ITU World Cup circuit. McQueen finished 31st in 55:22, followed by Chartier in 38th in 55:40. Also racing for the U.S. was Jason West (Boulder, Colo.), who took 41st in 56:00.

The women’s race was also a thriller, and once again it all came down to the run. The Netherlands’ Lotte Willms had the strongest swim in 9:34, giving her a five-second advantage and space for a smooth transition. Tomlin was 10th out of the water in 9:52, putting her comfortably in position to join the lead pack on the bike. The approximately 20-strong group included race favorites like Japan’s Ai Ueda, France’s Sandra Dodet, Chile’s Barbara Riveros and New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay, as well as U.S. teammate Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont).

The leaders rode together for the entire three-lap bike course, with no one able to secure a breakaway. A field of notable runners all came into the second transition together, ready to battle over the final 5k.  

Ueda took the lead almost immediately during the first lap of the run, but Tomlin stayed in the mix alongside Dodet, Italy’s Annamaria Mazzetti and Australia’s Jaz Hedgeland. 

The Japanese star went on to take the win in 59:39, followed 10 seconds later by Dodet. Tomlin, a former collegiate 1,500- and 800m runner at Georgetown University, used her signature finishing speed to outsprint Riveros for the bronze in 1:00:01.

“It’s always a good day when you get on the podium,” Tomlin said. “I tried to push the pace a bit. Those girls definitely kept us honest and had us chasing.”

Ackerlund went on to finish 14th in 1:00:48, and Amy Cymerman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) rounded out the U.S. contingent in 30th (1:03:23). 

The ITU Triathlon World Cup circuit makes its final stop of the 2018 season on Nov. 10 in Miyazaki, Japan.

Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Elite Men — Complete Results

1. Max Struder (SUI), 53:56
2. Felix Duchampt (FRA), 53:57
3. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 54:01

U.S. Finishers

3. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 54:01
11. Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.), 54:26
31. Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.), 55:22
38. Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.), 55:40
41. Jason West (Boulder, Colo.), 56:00

Elite Women — Complete Results 

1. Ai Ueda (JPN), 59:39
2. Sandra Dodet (FRA), 59:49
3. Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), 1:00:01

U.S. Finishers
3. Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), 1:00:01
14. Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), 1:00:48
30. Amy Cymerman (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:03:23

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