AN ALL AMERICAN THRILLER – ZAFERES SNATCHES THE WIN
28th October, 2018
The final day of Super League Triathlon (SLT) racing was spectacular, with the Equalizer Stage 2 settling the final standings for the weekend.
The final race was a swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run with no gaps, in a race pursuit format, using the time gaps established on Friday’s Swim Individual Time Trial. The field was spread across the course scrabbling for time, and had to work hard to get back on track with the leaders.
Having won the Eliminator on Saturday, Katie Zaferes went into today’s race looking to back up that performance and take the overall win for the weekend. She was going to have to hold off a hard-charging Rachel Klamer, who, having performed out of her skin on the Saturday, was riding a wave of confidence into the Equalizer. Joanna Brown in third would also prove tough opposition once the racing began.
Taylor Spivey though, would lead the field out with a six second lead on Yuko Takahashi, but more importantly a seven second lead over Zaferes. Klamer was sixteen seconds back from Spivey but critically only nine seconds off Zaferes. The format tests the athletes ability to think tactically, and temper their efforts.
Spivey exited the water first with the field close behind, byt Zaferes closed the gap right up with a pack soon forming on the bike. Klamer was first off the bike and onto the run looking strong as the race unfolded.
As the athletes entered the Equalizer’s second phase, it was the all-american trio of Zaferes, Summer Cook, and Kirsten Kasper that broke away from the rest of the field, with Klamer chasing the group.
The lead was exchanged amongst the three until the final corner of the last run, but in the end it was Zaferes who summoned the strength on the uphill finish to break clear of the other two and take the victory. Kasper held off Cook to take second making an all USA podium for the final race of the weekend. Klamer came in fourth showing that yesterday’s result was not just a flash in the pan, but a sign that she is tapping into a rich vein of form.
Cook was quick to identify how she’d approached the days racing after not quite reaching the level she’d wanted the previous day. “Today was a pretty good day, I wasn’t quite satisfied with my race yesterday, but I had some big positives and I wanted to build on that and I felt I was able to do that today.” Always very quick to analyse her race, and break down where she felt good, she also said this to us. “I felt pretty strong on the second swim and I feel I was able to make up some time going into transition then position myself well on the bike.”
Kasper enjoyed her day and felt strong after battling illness on the opening day. “That was really good, I was feeling a lot better today and more like myself, so I just did my thing and I’m very happy with the result.” As soon as the racing started she knew she was in a position to challenge for a strong finish, commenting “I knew I would be in contention but obviously I know Katie is very strong and Summer is an amazing runner. So I was just trying to hold on going up the hill and when Katie pulled away from us, I knew I had one extra gear and I could get second”.
Zaferes had shown a grittier side to her racing, totally different to the domination from the previous day, with more of a street fight right up until the last corner. “That was hard, Kirsten and Summer they just pushed up until the end, and there were parts where I let a gap happen, and I needed to work hard to close. Up that last hill I just gave it everything I had and hoped it was more than what they had. It was as close as it can get I think – and that’s what Super League is all about.” Zaferes has it all, the ability to take a field on from the front and lead a race home but also an inbuilt fire that means she will scrap until the very end when challenged by the rising tide.
Off the back of today’s racing, and combined with yesterday’s results it is Zaferes who without question has proved herself to be the true champion of Malta. Klamer’s consistency over the two days meant she earned herself a second place with Kasper rounding off the podium.
1st Katie Zaferes (USA)
2nd Kirsten Kasper (USA)
3rd Summer Cook (USA)
Championship Weekend Results:
1st Katie Zaferes (USA)
2nd Rachel Klamer (USA)
3rd Kirsten Kasper (USA)
A week’s rest follows Malta as we move into Mallorca – can Zaferes keep the engine revving or will the rest of the field steal a win as the SLT train rolls on? Don’t turn away for a second!
Curious about the results of the full women’s field? Click HERE to find out!