Canadian Paula Findlay hasn't yet completed a full Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship season, yet
Findlay has now won four of her last five Dextro Energy Triathlon Series races, including London and Kitzbühel last year and the 2011 season opener in Sydney. That ties her with reigning ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt for most total series race wins, impressive given that Findlay is yet to complete a full season after only starting halfway through last year.
Today in Madrid, Findlay was in the lead pack from the start, quickly established a break with a group of three in the run and then turned on the burners in the final 200m to hold off Great Britain's Helen Jenkins and France's Emmie Charayron - who overtook Andrea Hewitt in the final lap to take her place on the podium.
Despite her record, Findlay still said she came away surprised - particularly when she heard the news she'd tied Moffatt's record.
"No idea, oh man, I don't even know, I didn't know that. It's so cool. I just respect the Emmas (Moffatt and Snowsill) so much, I'm so shy around them, I just respect them so much and just every single person I race against, I'm so star struck at the pre-race meeting every time so it's really really so cool to be running with them so being on top of the podium is really really cool," Findlay said.
"I can't even describe it, it doesn't feel it like it at all, I still feel like an underdog everytime I come into these races and I am still starstruck by seeing the Emmas and everyone, so it's just amazing to be winning them. I'm very happy."
The swim in Madrid startedin the same way as the season opener in Sydney, with Laura Bennett setting the pace, the only difference was that Findlay - along with Hewitt - was right on her tail. There were two packs at the start of the bike, but they quickly became one and it was that lead group of 16 that set up the race from there. That group included Findlay, Hewitt, Jenkins, Barbara Riveros Diaz and Lisa Norden, and they established a consistent 30-second lead across the tough bike leg on the first chase group, which was led by Daniela Ryf, Annabel Luxford and Moffatt, and took that into T2.
But coming in the run, it was clear that Findlay meant business and immediately surged to the front - first with Hewitt by her side. Jenkins and Barbara Riveros Diaz quickly bridged that first gap and the four ran together for the next few kilometres until Riveros Diaz was dropped. It was then Findlay, Jenkins and Hewitt for the majority of the 10km, Hewitt was dropped on the final lap and quickly caught by Charayron - who had completed an amazing run through the field to make it onto the podium. With about 400 metres to go, Findlay started to stride away and collected her second consecutive win in 2011.
It was the second consecutive Madrid podium for both Charayron and Jenkins, in 2010 Jenkins finished third and Charayron second behind Switzerland's Nicola Spirig.
Jenkins was happy with her silver, particulary after cuts from a bike crash in the opening round in Sydney became infected and put her out of training for two weeks in the lead up, saying she just couldn't catch Findlay.
"I managed to catch back up to Andrea and Paula and I was really suffering then, I was kind of hanging on and my legs weren't feeling great and I knew that Paula was going to push on stage so I just wanted to hang with her, but I just couldn't keep up she was just too good over that last 400 metres," she said.
Charayron was happy with her efforts, that saw her move through the field with ease and posted a run split of 34 minutes, 38 seconds.
'I'm very pleased because I had an injury during the winter and the first series in Sydney was very hard, so I'm pleased to have another medal like last year," she said.
In other notable results, New Zealand had two athletes in the top six, with Hewitt and McIlroy, and two Americans in the top 10 with Sarah Groff and Bennett finishing seventh and eighth. Reigning Olympic champion Emma Snowsill couldn't get much closer to the leaders than her first round race in Sydney. Snowsill lost time in the swim again, and finished 21st. Reigning ITU World Champion Moffatt finished 13th.
In the overall Dextro Energy Triathlon Series rankings, Findlay has extended her lead, Riveros Diaz stays in second place and Hewitt third. Bennett is in fourth and Jenkins moves up into fifth place.
Madrid Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series - June 5, 2011 Final Results - Elite Women - Official 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run Gold - Paula Findlay (CAN) - 2:03:46 Silver - Helen Jenkins (GBR) - 2:03:49 Bronze - Emmie Charayron (FRA) - 2:03:58 4th - Andrea Hewitt (NZL) - 2:04:00 5th - Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) - 2:04:43 6th - Kate McIlroy (NZL) - 2:04:57 7th - Sarah Groff (USA) - 2:05:28 8th - Laura Bennett (USA) - 2:05:33 9th - Svenja Bazlen (GER) - 2:05:35 10th - Rachel Klamer (NED) - 2:05:58