Bianca Seregni reigns in China with World Cup gold in Chengdu
Italy’s Bianca Seregni proves she is a powerhouse across all triathlon disciplines as she soars home with gold in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Chengdu. Belgium’s Claire Michel delivers a powerful race set up and spectacular run showcase to earn silver while Italy’s Ilaria Zane claims an impressive World Cup bronze.
Bianca Seregni is known for her stellar swim portion of any triathlon race and today the Italian showed the world once again her incredible form across the standard distance race format. Seregni has a natural ability to get away from the field as soon as she hits the water and she did just that today in the women’s race in Chengdu as 32 women lined up to compete in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Chengdu.
Seregni established a 40-second gap on the field as China’s Xinyu Lin swam in second position through the 2 lap 1.5km swim. Hungary’s Márta Kropkó, Australia’s Natalie Van Coevorden, New Zealand’s Eva Goodisson were all in the main chase pack.
Seregni was able to move through transition and onto the bike portion of the race with a clear advantage and no others in sight. 30 seconds separated the top women chasing the leader, featuring China’s Yifan Yang and Xinyu Lin, Kropkó and Goodisson.
The Chinese athletes Yang and Lin powered their way to catch Seregni and the trio did a fantastic job to share the lead across the course.
Belgium’s Claire Michel was doing a remarkable job to drive this group who were now 18 seconds behind the leaders and it wasn’t long before the chase group had caught up to Seregni and the Chinese duo.
The group of 22 women jostled for positions as they went around the 180-degree turns around the 6 lap 40km bike course. Slovakia’s Ivana Kuriackova, Poland’s Paulina Klimas and USA’s Erika Ackerlund were among the athletes taking turns up front.
Goodisson brought the women down to the final strength of the bike as the women were shoulder to shoulder, leaving it all to the running race here in Chengdu.
Two-thirds of the women’s field entered the final transition of the day to commence the 4 lap 10km. Seregni was 5 seconds down as she started the run, after an issue in transition. The Italian managed to make up for lost time as she made an early move on the run, putting her in prime position.
Belgium’s Claire Michel and Italy’s Ilaria Zane were able to run ahead of the Chinese athlete Xinyu Lin, who was running very strong in fourth position.
The temperature had risen for the women’s race which meant the athletes were extremely exposed as they raced around the course in Chengdu.
Seregni appeared to look strong and composed as she continued to extend her mighty lead on the run. Michel looked to have the silver medal locked up as Zane couldn’t quite match the pace of her fellow compatriot or the Belgian striding up front.
Bianca Seregni pushed on and was in a league of her own as she soared down the finish line to take the tape and triumph in Chengdu, earning another gold medal in China over the standard-distance format.
“It’s incredible, really incredible, I wanted this win, I started with number one and I got it and wow I really have no words now, I’m so happy. I had a little problem in T2 so I started running a little later, but I pushed so much at the start and I said to myself now you have to go, you have to push and try right from the start and we’ll see at the end. My plan was not to conserve any energy today and I wanted to break away and I was really so happy when we were a group of three and working together and we were stronger I was happy but we tried it, we tried to break away but then they came and I was only in the group and then I was thinking about the run and then I just did the run and did my best.
“I’m really confident in this format and the Olympic-distance is my favourite, I mean I love racing and so I’m really really happy,” said gold medallist Seregni.
Claire Michel delivered a powerful combination across all disciplines today and after an impressive run segment was able to claim the silver medal in Chengdu, marking her 100th World Triathlon race of her career.
“It was a hard run and Bianca got out pretty fast on the first lap and I thought, Claire, just pace yourself and try to build through it but I could feel around the 3rd lap some cramps and a bit of side stitch coming in and I was like just keep in control, keep in control and Ilaria (Zane) was coming so I just thought, stay smooth, stay smooth. We were a big group and so it was difficult to stay organized so I just wanted to contribute what I needed to contribute to close the gap and that was my strategy, I was really focused on the swim, T1 and then just getting to the front at then try to be smart I guess for the rest of the bike from whatever we caught and contribute, stay near the front try to get a good T2 and then good run.
“This medal is a lot of things I mean it’s really good Olympic points for me it’s you know, it’s always great to be back on the podium, it’s a good reaffirmation that you know I still got it a little bit and it’s just stuff to build on so there’s a lot of positives for this and also for Belgium, also trying to fight to get three girls in the top 30 so that’s what we’re here for,” said silver medallist Michel.
Ilaria Zane pushed right to the end and was able to hang on to the bronze medal in Chengdu, ensuring 2 Italians on the women’s podium here in China.
“I’m very happy and exhausted because every time it takes a lot of focus and guts to take the lead, well, the third but I’m very happy because there’s a sense of relief I put for myself lots of goals, to try to get and achieve and I’m happy to tick all the boxes today so I’m proud of myself,” said bronze medallist Zane.
China’s Xinyu Lin came across the line in fourth place, the best result of her career at the World Triathlon Cup level.
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