MOOLOOLABA, Australia — Kirsten Kasper and Kevin McDowell swam, biked and ran their way to top-10 finishes on Saturday at the Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup, a sprint-distance event at Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) clocked in at 58 minutes, 50 seconds on the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course to finish 10th. She finished just over a minute behind race champion Vicky Holland of Great Britain, who surged to the front of the field on the run to claim the win in 57:46. Georgia Taylor-Brown, also of Great Britain, finished second in 58:01, and Australian Ashleigh Gentle, the 2019 Mooloolaba ITU World Cup winner, rounded out the podium in 58:13.
Kasper, a two-time medalist in Mooloolaba, led the field out of the water with Australian Emma Jeffcoat, holding a six-second gap to the rest of the field. Throughout the 20k bike, the leading pack grew to 30 women, leaving the podium up for grabs on the run. Holland quickly made her move to the front, using the run speed that propelled her to an Olympic Games bronze medal at Rio 2016 and ITU world champion in 2018 to post a 16:55 5k run split en route to the win.
In the men’s race, McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) finished sixth with a time of 52:03. Though this was his first race of the 2020 season, McDowell’s finish continues a string of top-10 results in ITU World Cup events he began last season, finishing sixth or better in five race starts since Sept. 21 in Weihei, China. He was just 13 seconds behind the New Zealand pair of Ryan Sissons and Hayden Wilde, who sprinted to the finish in a battle for first. Sissons and Wilde both clocked in at 51:50, with Sissons just edging Wilde at the line for the win. Australian Luke Willian was third in 51:54. Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) also represented the U.S., finishing 28th.
McDowell and Rider were both in the mix at the end of the swim leg, joining a large group of nearly 30 men that formed on the bike leg. For the second race of the day, the final result came down to the run, with McDowell running a 15:17 5k to keep himself in a solid finishing position, as Sissons and Wilde pushed the pace to earn the top two podium spots.
Also on Saturday, the International Triathlon Union Executive Board made the decision to suspend all competitions and other activities on the World Triathlon calendar until April 30 due to the rapidly evolving situation surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus. The action freezes all world rankings, Olympic Qualification rankings, paratriathlon ranking and Paralympic qualification rankings starting March 16. This announcement from ITU does not impact domestic, USA Triathlon-sanctioned races or events in any way.
2020 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Vicky Holland (GBR), 57:46
2. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), 58:01
3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 58:13
10. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 58:50
DNF Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.)
Elite Men — Complete Results
1. Ryan Sissons (NZL), 51:50
2. Hayden Wilde (NZL), 51:50
3. Luke Willian (AUS), 51:54
6. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), 52:03
28. Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.), 53:39