Sophie Linn brings home the first World Cup win of her career in Napier

by Olalla Cernuda on 24 Feb, 2024 04:28 • Español
Sophie Linn brings home the first World Cup win of her career in Napier

Sophie Linn (AUS) secured her first-ever World Triathlon Cup victory in Napier, New Zealand, marking an unforgettable opener to the season for the young Australian, who has put herself in a great position on the road to secure a spot on the Olympic team for Paris 2024. Linn’s stellar performance unfolded under the Kiwi sun, with a solid race that had her crossing the finish line ten seconds ahead of the British duo of Sophie Alden and Olivia Mathias, who sprinted for silver with finally Alden securing the second spot on the podium. Alden, like Linn, celebrated her inaugural appearance on a World Cup podium, while for Mathias this is the second podium of her career.

A beautiful day on the idilic town of Napier, on the North Island east coast, welcomed the participants of the World Triathlon Cup Napier, opener of the season, with all set up for a sprint race for the ages: 740m swim without wetsuits on choppy waters with a challenging beach star, followed by four laps of 5km each on the bike course, flat as it can be but quite technical, to round up the day with a 5km run along the coast.

After navigating smoothly through the choppy 750m swim, the British duo of Alden and Mathias led the group out of the water and they were able to make it to the first transition with some meters of advantage over the small chase group, but it was shortly after mounting on their bikes when both of them were caught by the chasers, a group that included Eva Goodisson (NZL), Sophie Linn (AUS), Emma Jeffcoat (AUS), Paulina Klimas (POL), Melanie Santos (POR) and Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer (HUN).

The group managed to stay on the lead for the 20km bike ride and they made it to the second transition with over thirty seconds with the chase pack, a massive group that included some of the pre-race favourites like Gina Sereno (USA), Valerie Barthelemy (BEL), Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) or Ilaria Zane (ITA).

Out of T2, Linn managed her way to the lead of the small group and started a magnificent run that will end up with the young Aussie claiming the gold medal in style, first-ever of her career.  “It feels amazing to come out in an Olympic year and get my first win at a World Cup, I couldn’t have asked for a better start. The season prep has been really good, I have just been based in Boulder, that’s where I am happiest with all of my friends, my dog and my partner so it’s been a really good winter of training. I came down here two weeks ago, just to get a bit of warm weather and it definitely paid off, ” she explained. “I am going to stay in New Zealand for another week and then head to Abu Dhabi and then back to Boulder to prepare for Yokohama and Cagliari”, said the Aussie, that is focusing on trying to get a spot on the Australian team for Paris 2024.

Behind her, the Brit duo of Alden and Mathias put on a show for the crowd in Napier, sprinting on the blue carpet to finally Alden just beating Mathias to claim the silver medal by less than a second. “I knew I was in good shape coming into it but it’s the first race of the season and you never know what you’re going to get but I just exceeded expectations and am just so happy, ” she said.  “The bike was hard, it was a solid ride and the group worked so hard together to pull away so that was really good and then sometimes you never know what you’re going to get running off the bike but I took it off hard. I am glad I did, I committed and I am just super happy,” she explained after what was also the first podium on the World Cup circuit for the Brit.

“It feels good. I really didn’t know what shape I was in coming in here, we didn’t push anything into this race and I knew I was racing the relay tomorrow so it kind of was like, just see where you are in the individual but I am pleased with that. We haven’t done any kicking into gear training yet but I think that’s kicked me into gear”, said Mathias after finishing the race.

In fourth and fifth, Melanie Santos of Portugal and Kuttor-Bragmayer were able to hold off two fast finishers, Ilaria Zane of Italy, while USA’s Sereno had the fastest run split on the day to round up the day with a sixth place.

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Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Cup Napier
24 Feb, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Callum McClusky AUS 00:49:41
2. Hayden Wilde NZL 00:49:47
3. Alberto Gonzalez Garcia ESP 00:49:49
4. Shachar Sagiv ISR 00:49:50
5. Dylan McCullough NZL 00:49:52
Results: Elite Women
1. Sophie Linn AUS 00:56:35
2. Sophie Alden GBR 00:56:43
3. Olivia Mathias GBR 00:56:44
4. Melanie Santos POR 00:57:04
5. Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer HUN 00:57:14
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