Third-placed finisher Carla van Huysteen achieved her dream podium finish at the Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships & Xterra Southeast Championship on Sunday, after Great Britain’s Lesley Paterson came from behind with a late surge and passed the defending champion Melanie McQuaid (CAN), who lead for much of the race, in the final lap of the run to win gold.
Van Huyssteen, who travels to Sardinia next, realized her vision in the race. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into the race and the podium was my ultimate goal,” she said. “I am really, really happy with my race.”
“I feel great. Training has gone well, prep went well,” said Shelby County champ Paterson. “I was feeling energized and ready to rumble. Everything went to plan really. I had a little mechanical on the bike. My chain came off. Everything else went pretty smooth.”
As the afternoon heat descended upon the women, they entered the water with McQuaid leading the first pack after lap 1. By the second lap, South Africa’s Van Huyssteen had overtaken the lead heading into T2 with Michelle Flipo (MEX), Suzie Snyder (USA), McQuaid, and Paterson, following close behind.
Shortly into the first lap of the bike, McQuaid moved ahead and built a significant lead, which put her more than two minutes ahead of her contenders by the third lap of the bike. Van Huyssteen, Snyder and Paterson remained in the second group behind McQuaid on the bike course heading into the run.
The tide began to turn on the run when Paterson got in stride and inched to 23 seconds off leader McQuaid in the first lap, creating a large margin between her and the second pack which included Van Huyssteen, Snyder and Shonny Vanlandingham. Moving well into the second lap, Paterson shot past McQuaid and never looked back to claim her first ITU World Championship
“I knew I had to try to catch Melanie and I had to take a lot of time out of her as quickly as possible,” said Paterson, who crossed the finish line with a 3-minute lead on McQuaid but smiles were all around for the silver medallist.
“I was happy with my race. I had a pretty good day but it just wasn’t quite as good as Leslie’s,” said McQuaid. “I’m happy she got it. It’s well deserved.”
Earlier today in the junior women’s race, 16-year old Hannah Rae Finchamp (USA) ran to a powerful finish and a gold medal. Securing silver was compatriot Jocelyn Vides (USA) and Charne Prinsloo (RSA) took the bronze, with fellow South African Marlette Smit one spot behind her.
Elite Women results at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Shelby County, Alabama: 1. Lesley Paterson GBR 02:24:39 2. Melanie McQuaid CAN 02:27:15 3. Carla van Huysteen RSA 02:28:34 4. Suzanne Snyder USA 02:29:13 5. Shonny Vanlandingham USA 02:29:15 6. Danelle Kabush CAN 02:33:03 7. Michelle Flipo MEX 02:33:14 8. Shae Vaughan USA 02:33:27 9. Brandi Heisterman CAN 02:33:50 10. Renata Bucher SUI 02:34:56
Junior Women: 1. Hannah Finchamp USA 01:00:14 2. Jocelyn Vides USA 01:04:01 3. Charne Prinsloo RSA 01:09:43 4. Marlette Smit RSA 01:12:21