Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen beats the heat with a commanding victory in Huatulco

Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen take the podium’s centre spot of honour besides second-placed Solveig Løvseth (right, Norway) and Mexico bronze medalist Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands, at the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco in Mexico on Saturday, 18 May, 2024. Photo: World Triathlon

Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen delivered a commanding victory at the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco, outsprinting the Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer and Norway’s Solveig Lovseth on the blue carpet finishing straight to win the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco in Mexico on Saturday, 18 May, 2024.

She might be coming from a Nordic country, but with the Pacific Ocean waters at 30ºC and the air temperature at 34ºC, and despite racing late in the evening, the young Dane has proven once again that she can beat the world’s best, racing under extreme weather circumstances. 

Forty eight women lined up on the beach of Huatulco for a Sprint distance race that will see them facing a challenging 750m swim, with waves and strong currents that made both the swim start and the swim exit quite complicated, followed by a demanding bike course of 22km, in four laps, with a long climb on every lap, to then finish with a 5km run. 

And to make it even harder, high temperatures and humidity, which made the second to last race of the Olympic qualification quite a challenging one.

Africa’s third best ranked triathlete, South Africa’s Bridget Theunissen, completed the three legs in 01:11:39 for 29th-placed finish.

It was Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer (HUN) who led the field out of the water, commanding a small group of eight women that included the likes of Rachel Klamer (NED), Lotte Miller (NOR), Sara Guerrero Manso (ESP), Karolina Helga Horvath (HUN), Sophie Howell (CAN) and Tamara Gorman (USA). But by the time they all made it to their bikes, after a long run out of the beach, they have been joined by another large group of athletes and a long train of approximately 25 athletes left the first transition together.

The four laps of the bike became at that moment just a group ride with most of the favourites on it, with some of them trying to stay up front to avoid problems, like Miller, Klamer, Maria Tome (POR) or Maria Casals Mujica (ESP), and some others staying on the back of the group, trying to save some legs for the final run.

After managing the 22km on the bike, the large train of 23 athletes came together to the second transition and quite quickly a group of eight took control of the situation. Klamer, Lovseth, Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto (COL), Kjær Pedersen, Gina Sereno (USA), Horvath, Tome and Erica Ackerlund (USA).

They quickly started to push and soon enough, Ackerlund and Tome were left behind, while the chase pack was trying to keep the pace, with not only the medals up for grabs but some very important ranking points that would mean the world for the athletes that are vying to qualify for the Olympics in Paris. 

That was the case for the two Austria representatives, Lisa Perterer and Julia Hauser, that needed to consolidate their ranking in order to keep the dream of having a Team at the Olympic Games alive. On a similar situation was Dominica Jamnicky (CAN), who needed to score big in Huatulco to keep the chances of Team Canada being represented at the Olympics alive.

Ahead of the drama, the group of six women keep going, opening a gap that increased kilometer after kilometer. It was Lovseth who charged first, with merely 500m to go, but Klamer and Pedersen went with her and the Norwegian faded slightly and it was Pedersen who took the lead to take the tape in style, her third World Cup victory of her career, and the second in Huatulco, where she won her first World Cup in 2021. 

“I am very happy with my victory here today, and I managed to perform really well in the heat, and in Denmark is pretty cold.”

World Triathlon Cup Huatulco Champ, Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen

“In the first lap of the run I decided to stay with the group, because I was afraid of the heat. I knew that my sprint finish was pretty good so I tried to wait for it and went for it at the end,” she explained.

Behind her, Klamer proved once again that her run is always magnificent, and despite having raced yesterday to claim the silver medal on the Mixed Relay Olympic Qualifier Event and secure the Netherlands a Team at the Olympics, she crossed the finish line just a couple of steps ahead of Lovseth. “I didn’t feel good today at all during the race, I should have focused on recovery last night a bit more, but I am really happy with my result today,” said Klamer. “I didn’t want to make the same mistakes that I did in Wollongong -where she finished in fourth- so I sat on the back and just pushed at the end, and it paid off”.

“I am really surprised with my result today. The main goal for me and the Norwegian team for this weekend was to qualify the Team, which we did yesterday, and this is a bonus. I thought I need to make the most out of the trip. I felt really good today, even at the swim, which is usually my biggest weakness. When I saw that on the bike I didn’t have to bridge a gap because I was already at the front I thought lets see what I can do on the run. I tried to go for the win but I am extremely happy with third”, said Lovseth.

Velasquez Soto was extremely happy with her fourth place, one that is worth a ticket to the Olympics in Paris next summer, while Gina Sereno finished in fifth place.  

Julia Hauser climbed to the sixth place, securing some valuable points on the Olympic rankings, followed on the finish line by Horvath, Ackerlund, Tome and Elizabeth Bravo (ECU), who rounded the top ten. Sofia Rodriguez Moreno, 11th, was the first Mexican in the finish line, followed by Casals Mujica.

The disappointment was for Jamnicky, who was not able to finish the race, and Lisa Perterer, whose 13th place puts Team Austria on a delicate position to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Leading Elite Women Results at the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco in Mexico on Saturday, 18 May, 2024

1. Alberte Kjær Pedersen (DEN) 01:04:54
3. Solveig Løvseth (NOR) 01:04:54
2. Rachel Klamer (NED) 01:04:54
4. Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto (COL) 01:05:00
5. Gina Sereno (USA) 01:05:08

29. Bridget Theunissen (RSA)  01:11:39

Main Photo Caption: Denmark’s Alberte Kjær Pedersen take the podium’s centre spot of honour besides second-placed Solveig Løvseth (right, Norway) and Mexico bronze medalist Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands, at the World Triathlon Cup Huatulco in Mexico on Saturday, 18 May, 2024. Photo: World Triathlon

Photo 2 Caption: Alberte Kjær Pedersen outsprinted Rachel Klamer and Solveig Lovseth on the blue carpet finishing straight for the win. Photo: World Triathlon

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