Cassandre Beaugrand makes it two from two with Series gold in Sunderland

by Doug Gray/World Triathlon media; images by Tommy Zaferes

Even after the exertions of a huge WTCS Hamburg win just a fortnight ago and having a late bike replacement after Friday’s course familiarisations, Cassandre Beaugrand of France rose to the occasion once more on Saturday afternoon to take gold at the first WTCS Sunderland and send out a huge signal to her Olympic rivals ahead of next month’s Test Event.

Leading out of the water and then working well as part of a seven-deep group for much of the 21km bike, she was one of 28 athletes pouring into transition together as the packs merged, then clicked into her familiar stride and a pace that only Emma Lombardi could match. The former U23 world champion wasn’t able to hang on for long, however, and Beaugrand soared home to take the tape and the gold, Lombardi silver, Germany’s Annika Koch going one better than her previous career best of fourth in Hamburg by sealing an excellent bronze.

“Emma was pushing me until the end so I had to dig deep,” said a thrilled Beaugrand. “This was a great day for the French team, the goal was finishing in the podium the three of us together, Leonie was fourth finally but we were quite close. It was a great day for me, I have been training really well and all my training group was here to cheer for me, my coach, my boyfriend. It was a very special day for me today!”

Feuersinger flying early on

Switzerland’s Therese Feuersinger put together a brilliant swim, shrugging off the cold temperatures to lead Beaugrand and Vittoria Lopes at the end of the 750m in the water, Germany’s Lena Meissner and GB’s Olivia Mathias right there, Gwen Jorgensen only 25 seconds back with Lotte Miller and Julie Derron.

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Beaugrand and Feursinger then got away together for the first bike lap but had under 10 seconds to the chasers including Lombardi and Koch and soon they’d caught on form a nimble group of seven out front and going well together. Miller and Meissner were spearheading the chase group 19 seconds back at the halfway point of the 21km bike, but at the bell they’d come together and it was Olivia Mathias leading a big train of athletes past the packed grandstand. Lotte Miller pulled out with a back niggle to preserve herself for the following day’s mixed relay, and suddenly it was Lombardi with daylight out of transition, Rachel Klamer in close pursuit with Cathia ScharJulie Derron and Leonie Periault giving chase and Beaugrand five seconds back.

French pair lead the way

It took no time for the Hamburg champion to be back out in the lead with Lombardi sticking to her shoulder and Annika Koch working her way into a strong position in third with daylight to a group headed by Derron, Marlene Gomez-Goggel and Nicole Van Der Kaay, Klamer hanging on in 8th now 18 seconds back, Periault falling in a group and losing her chance to challenge.

Then Beaugrand finally dropped Lombardi, taking the hill solo for the last time and opening up 14 seconds on her nearest rival to allow herself the time to savour that finish chute. Lombardi looked thrilled with a third Series silver, Koch likewise with her best result and first podium and followed across the line by a disappointed Periault, Gomez-Goggel in fifth ahead of Klamer.

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Full results can be found here.

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