WEIHAI, China — Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) finished fourth Saturday at the Weihai ITU Triathlon World Cup, just 11 seconds off the podium in an Olympic-distance race that came down to the wire. The performance marks McDowell’s third top-five finish on the ITU World Cup circuit this season.
The race featured a 1,500-meter swim in Weihai’s Halfmoon Bay, followed by a hilly 40.2-kilometer bike and a fast-and-flat 10-kilometer run along the coast.
Israel’s Shachar Sagiv was the lead swimmer in the men’s race, finishing the two-lap course in 17 minutes, 20 seconds. McDowell was not far behind him, exiting the water in 12th position and quickly joining the leaders on the bike. A group of chasers eventually caught onto the pack, resulting in a crowded transition as nearly 30 men hit the run course at once.
McDowell pushed the pace early on, running alongside the likes of Great Britain’s Grant Sheldon, Germany’s Jonas Schomburg, Portugal’s Joao Silva, Mexico’s Rodrigo Gonzalez and Switzerland’s Max Studer. As fatigue from the hilly bike course started to thin out the field, it was Silva who made the final surge to take the tape in 1:54:47.
Studer sprinted to silver in 1:54:49, Sheldon rounded out the podium in 1:54:53, and McDowell crossed the line in 1:55:04 to take fourth. The race is the continuation of a strong season for McDowell, highlighted by a bronze at the Cagliari ITU World Cup and two fourth-place finishes in Madrid and here in Weihai.
Also racing for the U.S. men on Saturday were Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.), who took 18th in 1:57:28, and Walter Schafer (Centennial, Colo.), who was 31st in 2:01:28.
In the women’s race, Sophie Chase (Burke, Va.) was the sole U.S. finisher, taking 12th place with a time of 2:13:23.
Chase was 20th out of the water, joining the chasers on the bike. Julie Derron of Switzerland, Verena Steinhauser of Italy and Miriam Casillas García of Spain had strong swims and established the early lead on the bike, continuing to build their gap throughout the hilly six-lap course. By the time they hit the second transition, the leading trio had nearly two minutes on the rest of the field.
Derron had a dominant run, posting the fastest 10k of the day (35:27) en route to the win in 2:08:03. Casillas García collected the silver medal in 2:09:48, and Steinhauser took bronze in 2:10:11. Chase ran a 37:25 10k, enough to get her across the line 12th in 2:13:23.
Chase, a former NCAA Division I runner at Stanford University, is in her third season as an elite triathlete after being recruited to the sport through the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program. She represented the U.S. at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, earlier this year, and has three top-15 finishes on the ITU World Cup circuit this season.
Only three races remain on the ITU World Cup calendar for 2019, with the next stop set for Oct. 19 in Tongyeong, South Korea.
Weihai ITU Triathlon World Cup
1,500m swim, 40.2k bike, 10k run
Elite Men — Complete Results
1. Joao Silva (POR), 1:54:47
2. Max Studer (SUI), 1:54:49
3. Grant Sheldon (GBR) ,1:54:53
4. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), 1:55:04
18. Collin Chartier (Fairfax, Va.), 1:57:28
31. Walter Schafer (Centennial, Colo.), 2:01:28
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Julie Derron (SUI), 2:08:03
2. Miriam Casillas García (ESP), 2:09:48
3. Verena Steinhauser (ITA), 2:10:11
12. Sophie Chase (Burke, Va.), 2:13:23
Erika Ackerlund (Missoula, Mont.), DNF
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 at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — 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).