Zaferes Dominates In Eliminator

Today saw the athletes get their first chance for some real head-to-head racing. it promised to be intense with action right from the starting gun and it did not disappoint!

The Eliminator is a three-stage race: swim-bike-run three times over, with a 10-minute break between — just enough time to get back to transition to start again! It’s all about flat-out racing and fast recovery before going again.

Athletes would be eliminated at the end of each swim-bike-run so they’ve got to be up there for a chance to be in the final-round shootout. Who of our elite female line-up would have what it takes to cross the line first and take the victory?

The women were up first and the racing was hot from the gun. Our swimmer’s jersey holder Emma Jeffcoat led out of the swim and onto the bike, showing exactly why she deserves that blue jersey. “It was awesome to do the blue swimmer’s jersey proud on a brutal but stunning and historic course. I’m hoping to build on today to make for one exciting Equaliser tomorrow!” Following Jeffcoat out of the water was Danielle De Francesco and Katie Zaferes.

But Zaferes, with a stunning display of power and control, moved quickly into first place on the first bike leg. She didn’t look in any danger as the rest of the field trailed in her wake, taking the victory.

While Zaferes began her recovery, Megan Foley, Elana Danilova, Sarah Alexander, Klaudia Sebok, and Erin Storie were eliminated from the field. Megan Foley said “It wasn’t the best race I’ve ever been in — that was the most brutal swim I’ve ever done in my life. There were people on top of me, and there were people swimming on my back so it was brutal. I tried to catch up on the bike but didn’t have the legs, I couldn’t latch on and the elastic broke on the third leg of the bike and it was a rough solo trip from there.”

In the second round and after a 10-minute break the remaining athletes set off from the pontoon with Katie Zaferes taking the victory once again. Desirae Ridenour, Claire Michel and Danielle De Francesco were eliminated.

Reflecting on her race, Jodie Stimpson said

“I was on the edge on that one, this one it going to hurt.”

Then came the final shoot out for victory. The remaining athletes would go head-to-head and this was the one that would count. “The last one is the only one that matters,” said Zaferes, “so I’ve been trying not to spend too many pennies and really stay within myself knowing the other women are probably playing a strategy back there. So I don’t know if I look stupid or good!”

Katie needn’t have worried about looking stupid; her domination of this day’s racing continued into the third stage as she controlled the field and took a well-deserved win.

“I was a little nervous. I go by feel so you never know how that third round is going to go. It felt really hard. I was happy on the last lap to be going up that hill for the last time. I sure hope to hold it into tomorrow.”

Rachel Klamer took second place having been up there throughout the day. 

“I’m super happy! Unbelievable! I wish I could be happy with an eighth or a tenth place — but I’m not, even if I know I did my best I can’t be happy with it. My running was feeling really good on the last lap and I just told myself to believe in myself and just go — RUN!!!”

Joanna Brown rounded off the podium in third place.

“The hill was a hill and it didn’t get any less steep no matter how many times we hammered away at it. I love this bike course more than anything, you can showcase your strength as a cyclist. I really tried to use that to my advantage. It was fun”

Tomorrow we have the Equalizer with the starting positions being based off the times from the Swim ITT on Friday. This second stage’s swim-bike-run-swim-bike-run sequence will see the athletes head off at different time intervals determined by their part one finishing position. The winner is the first athlete across the finish line after the second and final stage.

Final standings (full timings)

  1. Zatie Zaferes (USA)
  2. Rachel Klamer (NLD)
  3. Joanna Brown (CAN)
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