Americans placed second, third, and fourth in Ishigaki, and that after Americas Laura Reback won this years inaugural World Cup event at Gamagori the weekend before.
American Barb Lindquist predictably led a no-wetsuit swim from the beginning, and as they left the first transition she led by 10 seconds over Harrop, New Zealander Rina Hill, and Reback. Pilar Hidalgo from Spain, Briton Steph Forrester having made the jump to the top of triathlons world class after wintering in Australia and American Siri Lindley followed closely behind.
Harrop, Hill and Reback quickly motored up to Lindquist and the lead pack of four immediately started putting time on the chase pack. Indeed, the pace up front was sufficiently hard that Hill dropped off, and by the end of lap two Hill was 1:20 behind. A chase pack of eight athletes including Lindley, Forrester, Hidalgo and Australian Liz Blatchford eventually swallowed Hill up.
The three leaders maintained their pace and by transition into the run the chase pack was almost three minutes behind. As is often the case in World Cup racing and this distinguishes womens racing from mens womens chase packs are often reticent to do the work necessary to close the gap on the leaders.
Harrop and Lindquist had the fresher legs off the bike and within a short span had gapped last weeks winner Reback. Meanwhile, no longer three minutes behind and closing fast were Lindley and Forrester.
Harrop waited until the final sprint to eke out a lead on Lindquist, and won the race by two seconds. Lindley finally reeled in Reback in the last lap, and got third. Reback held for fourth, and Forrester rounded out the top five. Lindleys run split was the fastest of the day by 40 seconds, and she was a minute and a half faster in the run than the two who placed above her.
In the mens race, Frenchman Laurent Jeanselme led a pack of 15 athletes that included Aussie Greg Bennett, the Reed brothers Matt and Shane of New Zealand last years winner Australian Courtney Atkinson and New Zealanders Kris Gemmell and Hamish Carter. A chasing pack led by Khazak Dmitry Gaag and Dane Rasmus Henning who is among the worlds best long-course racers as well followed closely behind. Former world champ Aussie Chris McCormack last weeks winner in Gamagori and Marc Jenkins of the UK followed in a third pack.
Henning led out the bike as the new larger front pack early leaders and first pack of chasers having been amalgamated entered the second lap of the race. This lead pack raced together throughout the bike with the chase group led by McCormack finally catching them in lap four of the bike.
After a lot of hard riding and bridging, the pack started to fray near the end. New Zealanders Carter and Bevan Doherty and Australia's Bennett were leading the field, 10 seconds in front of the main pack.
Weak and shaky legs caused further separation early into the run. Bennett, who had fought hard to stay in the lead pack throughout, retired in the first lap of the run. Carter took the lead in the first half of the run. Gaag, Gemmell and Atkinson followed and by the end of the first lap they were five seconds down on Carter.
In the second lap of the run New Zealand teammate Craig Watson caught the leaders of the field, and it looked to be a Kiwi romp, with fellow Kiwis Carter and Gemmel with him at the front. Watson was soon on Carters tail, eventually overtaking him, and they were one-two. The rest of the field closed in, though, and soon Briton Andrew Johns, Atkinson, Gaag and Spaniard Ivan Rana were right there.
Carter and Watson were neck and neck going into the last lap of the run, with Rana in third place, five seconds behind. Watson jumped to a 20-meter lead over his teammate Carter. Rana moved past Carter and gained on Watson. Rana overtook Watson as the race neared its terminus, winning with the same margin as in the womens race, two seconds. Although they were not always together during the race, Rana and Watson had almost identical splits throughout, with both running 32:51.
Racers will now leave Asia and travel to St. Anthonys Triathlon. The venerable race in Florida has been lifted to World Cup status, and the race, on April 28, is the only World Cup race in America this year.
ITU Triathlon World Cup Ishigaki
April 21, 2001; Ishigaki, Japan
1.5K swim (2 laps); 40K bike (6 laps); 10K run (3 laps)
1. Ivan Rana ESP 1:46:17 (16:47, 56:39, 32:51)
2. Craig Watson NZL 1:46:19 (16:45, 56:43, 32:51)
3. Hamish Carter NZL 1:46:35 (16:49, 56:13, 33:33)
4. Sylvain Dodet FRA 1:46:40 (17:03, 56:23, 33:14)
5. Dmitry Gaag KAZ 1:46:52 (17:11, 56:13, 33:28)
6. Andrew Johns GBR 1:47:12 (17:17, 56;07, 33:48)
7. Tim Don GBR 1:47:16 (17:16, 56:38, 33:22)
8. Chris McCormack AUS 1:47:26 (17:20, 56:06, 34;00)
9. Rasmus Henning DEN 1:47:28 (16:40, 56:46, 34:02)
10. Trent Chapman AUS 1:47:33 (16:44, 56:37, 34:12)
1. Loretta Harrop AUS 1:56:45 (17:10, 1:01:07, 38:28)
2. Barb Lindquist USA 1:56:47 (16:49, 1:01:29, 38:29)
3. Siri Lindley USA 1:58:16 (18:11, 1:03:08, 36:57)
4. Laura Reback USA 1:58:36 (17:12, 1:01:12, 40:13)
5. Steph Forrester GBR 1:59:22 (18:20, 1:02:55, 38:07)
6. Liz Blatchford AUS 2:00:04 (18:12, 1:02:59, 38:53)
7. Rina Hill NZL 2:00:43 (17:13, 1:04:10, 39:20)
8. Michelle Dillon GBR 2:00:45 (19:35, 1:03:34, 37:36)
9. Machiko Nakanishi JPN 2:00:48 (18:06, 1:03:14, 39:28)
10. Pilar Hidalgo ESP 2:00:55 (17:27, 1:03:55, 39:33).