Mexico’s Grajales, Ecuador’s Bravo win Salinas World Cup

Men’s Race

In the penultimate world cup race of the 2017 season, Mexico’s Crisanto Grajales finished off his year by becoming victorious at the 2017 Salinas ITU Triathlon World Cup. Putting his speed to the test in the final sprint distance race on the circuit, Grajales claimed the gold and stepped on top of the world cup podium for the first time since 2012.

“I am very very happy to win in Salinas. Last year at this race I came in third, so I am happy to finish the season with a win,” said Grajales of earning his gold to end the 2017 year.

Finishing in second place was first-time world cup silver medallist Feliz Duchampt (FRA), who had a close race with Grajales on the run course. The bronze then went to Brazil’s Manoal Messias, who was another athlete to make it onto his first-career world cup podium.

“The race was good. My swim was pretty good. I was racing in the lead group and as it spread out I saw I was among the lead guys. Then the bike was flat and easy. There were some tries for breakaways, but it was so flat that no one could really get away. So, then I knew it was the run. I tried to go really fast so I could spread out the field, but Grajales caught me. It was a great battle, I would have liked to have beat him at the end, but he was stronger today so I am still really happy with second,” Duchampt said of his debut silver.

After the women had sealed in the action, the men then lined up to start the last fast and furious sprint race of the world cup circuit. The tide started to come in, but the waves tamed down as the horn signaled the start.

The one-lap 750-metre swim was a quick leg for the talented roster of men competing. Ecuador’s Ramon Armando Matute got the first edge to exit the waters first, but the sprint leg was not enough to cause a big enough gap and the majority of the field entered the first transition together.

The tight swim echoed onto the bike course. A lead pack tallying over 20 men formed a long train, that stayed together throughout the four laps. While some breakaway attempts were made, such as from Jason Wilson(BAR) and Flavio Morandini (ARG) through the 20-kilometres, the stacked peloton remained intact.

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The group then entered the second transition together, making for one busy zone before taking off for the run.

It was on the first lap that Grajales and Duchampt broke away and were running side by side as the leading two. Just behind, smaller, yet determined chasers were hot in pursuit.

Once it hit the bell, it was clear that Grajales and Duchampt would be two names on the podium. Bronze however would go to a group of four men battling for the last spot. Among the fight was Messias, Diogo Sclebin(BRA), Irving Perez (MEX) and Taylor Forbes (CAN).

Grajales had the faster legs on the day and pushed ahead of Duchampt in the final metres to claim the win and his first world cup victory in over five years.

Duchampt followed closely behind and Messias just shortly after to finish off the podium.


Women’s Race

With the cheers of the home crowd roaring, Ecuador’s own Elizabeth Bravo claimed her first-career world cup victory at the 2017 Salinas ITU Triathlon World Cup. Claiming also the first world cup title for the small South American country, Bravo had a dominating run to bring her home to win the gold in the final sprint distance race of the world cup season.

Bravo said of her race and her victory, “I didn’t have a good transition, but I knew I was really strong in the run and I could push a lot. At first I thought I could stay with USA’s Gorman, but then I thought I could do more and more. So I went and all the people were cheering, so I got more and more energy and more fast. I am really happy for winning my first world cup and at home, it is amazing!”

Joining Bravo on the podium was USA’s Tamara Gorman who finished second and Luisa Baptista of Brazil who claimed bronze. Both women also collected world cup medals for the first time in their careers, making the whole podium a milestone event.

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Gorman commented on obtaining her first world cup silver, “Coming off of worlds, I was excited for this race after not having a good race in the last world cup in Sarasota. I just wanted to end this year with a bang and it was good!”

Salinas played host to the penultimate world cup race of the 2017 season. The day welcomed the elites with a cloudy and humid sky that saw a breeze initiate some strong waves for the beach swim start. The women ran towards the sea early in the morning, to kick off the back-to-back race event.

Showcasing her strength in the water, Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes exited the swim first, with Gorman closely behind.

Through the first transition, the first lap on the bike saw a small group of four women, Gorman, Lopes, Diana Castillo (COL) and Minami Kubono (JPN) join forces and attempt to create a gap against the field behind. While the four leaders managed to get ahead with about 25 seconds to spare, a fierce chase of 10 led by Canada’s Dominika Jamnicky and Bravo continued to forge the space in pursuit of closing the gap.

On the bell, the push from the chase deemed worthy and they managed to catch the top four to enter together into the second transition.

It was then onto the run where the podium started to form. Using the motivation from the crowds, Bravo soared past the competition into the first position. Her form strengthened after each lap and her lead never faltered. She managed to hold tight and into the finish chute and with the Ecuadorian flag waving, she grabbed the tape to claim not only her first world cup win, but also her first world cup podium.

Behind Bravo came Gorman, who despite after being named the U23 women’s world champion at the Rotterdam Grand Final last month, has never been on the world cup podium before.
Third place then went to Baptista, who was among the chasing ten women and then made her efforts known out on the run course.

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