Zaferes Gets Back-to-Back WTS Gold Medals with Win in Bermuda

By USA Triathlon | April 27, 2019, 6:48 p.m. (ET)

HAMILTON, Bermuda — Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) made it back-to-back victories in the ITU World Triathlon Series on Saturday, claiming gold in dominant fashion in Bermuda. Combined with her win last month at the season opener in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Zaferes maintains the overall lead in the WTS standings. 

The course in Bermuda featured a challenging 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. Conditions were less than ideal, as a torrential rain began just minutes after the elite women dove into Hamilton Harbor. Battling waves, wind and poor visibility, four U.S. women still managed top-10 positions heading out of the swim. 

Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth led the field out of the water, but Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.), Zaferes, Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) and Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) were all within 10 seconds of her.

On the first lap of the bike, Zaferes and three other women — Learmonth, Great Britain's Vicky Holland and Norway’s Lotte Miller — pulled away from the field. Though the rain eased up, the roads were water-logged — especially in the steep climb up the infamous Corkscrew Hill. For 10 laps, athletes worked their way uphill against a heavy current of rain coming down the road, making for slick and technical riding. 

While Holland eventually dropped off the back of the leaders, Zaferes, Learmonth and Miller kept the pace strong. By the time they reached the second transition, they had a gap of nearly two minutes on the rest of the field. 

After a transition that left her a few steps behind Learmonth and Miller, Zaferes refocused and began to chase down her competition. She had a solid lead by the end of the first 2.5k lap and would continue to build the gap from there. A 34-minute, 46-second 10k run was enough to bring her across the line with a total time of 1 hour, 59 minutes, 52 seconds — the only athlete to break two hours on the course. The win also marks Zaferes' first WTS victory in an Olympic-distance race.

Learmonth crossed the line more than a minute-and-a-half later, claiming the silver in 2:01:33. A strong run from Canada’s Joanna Brown helped her secure the bronze in 2:02:05, marking her first medal on the WTS circuit.

Spivey ran well from the chase group, ultimately finishing sixth in 2:02:40. That performance, combined with her silver medal earned last month in Abu Dhabi, keeps Spivey in third place in the overall WTS standings.   

Rappaport crossed the line in 12th, recording a time of 2:03:54, while Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.) rebounded after a brief spill on the bike to take 18th in 2:05:31.

In the men’s race, Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) led the U.S. with a 16th-place finish — a career-best in WTS competition for the 25-year-old, who also earned his first ITU Triathlon World Cup medal last month. 

France’s Dorian Coninx took the victory, crossing the line in 1:50:36 after outsprinting Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya and Norway’s Gustav Iden down the finish chute. Gomez Noya and Iden would end up in a photo finish for the other two podium spots, with the Spaniard gaining the slight advantage to take silver. Both recorded official finish times of 1:50:38.

Smoragiewicz was more than a minute behind the leaders coming out of the swim but was able to join a strong group of chasers on the bike. In the second half of the 40k course, Smoragiewicz’s group reeled in the frontrunners, merging to form a pack of 33 men.

Germany’s Jonas Schomburg went for a breakaway on the final lap of the bike, gaining about a 22-second gap heading onto the run — but he was caught about halfway through the 10k by Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt and the eventual podium finishers. 

Smoragiewicz, meanwhile, was positioned well among the rest of the field at the second transition. It would all come down to the run, and a 32:12 10k was enough to get Smoragiewicz across the line in 16th. That performance marked an improvement of more than 10 spots from his previous WTS personal best, a 27th-place recorded in Edmonton in 2017.

Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) was the second American across the line, finishing 29th in 1:54:12. Other U.S. finishers included Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 32nd in 1:55:01, and William Huffman (Colleyville, Texas), 35th in 1:55:47.

The ITU World Triathlon Series travels next to Yokohama, Japan, with an Olympic-distance race on tap for May 18.

2019 MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run

Elite Women — Complete Results

1. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:59:52
2. Jessica Learmonth (GRB), 2:01:33
3. Joanna Brown (CAN), 2:02:05

U.S. Finishers
1. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:59:52
6. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 2:02:40
12. Summer Rappaport (Thornton, Colo.), 2:03:54
18. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 2:05:31
Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), DNF
Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), LAP


Elite Men — Complete Results

1. Doran Coninx (FRA), 1:50:36
2. Javier Gomez Noya (ESP), 1:50:38
3. Gustav Iden (NOR), 1:50:38

U.S. Finishers

16. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 1:52:15
29. Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.), 1:54:12
32. Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), 1:55:01
35. William Huffman (Colleyville, Texas), 1:55:47
Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), DNF

About USA Triathlon
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