CAPE TOWN – Alex Yee from Leeds reigned supreme at the Discovery World Cup Triathlon at Cape Town on Sunday as some of the world’s finest triathlete defied some of the toughest conditions the Mother City could throw at them.
North England’s Yee maintained Britain’s enviable record of winning every year in Cape Town, although all their victors to date have been in the women’s elite race. With Japanese Ai Ueda taking honours in the early race, it was left to Yee to keep the Union Jack flying in the men’s race.
“To be honest, the windy, hot conditions suited me,” the 20-year-old from Northern England admitted. “I had a fairly poor swim and missed the lead pack on the bike. But I managed to stay with the chasing pack, and we had just about caught the leaders at the final transition to the run. Running is my strength and I was able to get away in the final lap to win.”
Yee won the 750 m swim, 20km cycle, and 5km run in 52 min 4 sec, 15 seconds clear of American Tony Smoragiewicz with Joao Silva of Portugal a close third.
South African hope, Henri Schoeman, led through the bike leg, but faded in the run to narrowly miss out on the final sprint for podium honours, placing fourth, and may also have suffered a similar gastric condition that ruled out Richard Murray before the start.
Schoeman’s strong swim saw him secure a place in the lead group of eight, which included Russia’s Polyansky brothers Igor and Dimitry, Portugal’s Silva, Shachar Sagiv of Israel, Richard Varga of Slovakia and Germans Justus Nieschlag and Valentin Wernz.
It all came together for Lee in the run, as he caught the leaders after 500m then opened a winning gap with 2km to the finish to clinch his first ITU World Cup victory.
“I’m disappointed with my race,” admitted Schoeman. “I just did not have the legs on the cycle or the run. I think the gastric bug may have got me too. But in the end, it is just a season warm-up and I’m aiming to build towards the Olympics from here. I feel bad that I may have let down local supporters though.”
Men’s Elite: 1 Alex Yee (GB) 52:04; 2 Tony Smoragiewicz (USA) 52:19; 3 Joao Silva (Port) 52:20; 4 Henri Schoeman (RSA) 52:21; 5 Justus Nieschlag (Ger) 52:23; 6 Lukas Hollaus (Aut) 52:35; 7 Shachar Sagiv (Isr)52:36; 8 Erwin Van der Plancke (Bel) 52:40; 9 Vicente Hernandez (Esp) 52:42; 10 Richard Varga (Svk) 52:46