Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee
challenge kaiserwinkl-walchsee

Kirsten Kasper takes New Plymouth ITU World Cup

Chief Correspondent

Kasper continues her fine early season form with victory in New Zealand

Fourth, second, first. Always a consistent performer in recent years, the USA’s Kirsten Kasper appears to have raised her game again in the early part of 2018, and on Sunday she earned her second career ITU Triathlon World Cup, taking victory in New Plymouth. As with the men, the Home Nations Commonwealth Games squads opted to focus on their preparation for Gold Coast, and not travel / race. Kate Waugh – Silver medallist in the World Junior Championships last year – finished 24th in her first World Cup start.

Here is the full race report (and highlights video), from the ITU Media team.


Kasper executes the perfect race to win in New Plymouth

America’s Kirsten Kasper produced the perfect race execution to claim the title at the 2018 ITU New Plymouth World Cup on Sunday. It’s been a remarkable start to the year for Kasper with a fourth place in WTS Abu Dhabi, second place in Mooloolaba World Cup and now a convincing win in the New Plymouth ITU World Cup.

Kasper, who dominated the race from the start, has maintained tradition in New Plymouth by keeping an America woman on top spot of the podium for the fifth consecutive year. New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay stormed across the finish line in second place, on home ground, to claim her first World Cup podium finish. The silver medal was a confidence boosting performance for the New Zealander as part of her final preparations for next month’s Commonwealth Games. The bronze medal was awarded to Belgium’s Claire Michel who put herself in the mix all day across the sprint distance format.

Kasper lead the elite women out of the water and onto the new technical bike course in New Plymouth. “I felt really good today right from the start so I just knew I had to go hard and give it my all,” Kasper said.

Kasper, with an initial lead, rode tactically knowing that today’s field was stacked with run specialists. Kasper pushed the charge leading a group of six women including the Australians, Americans and the Belgium.

New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup
Photo by @ScottieTPhoto #ScottieTPhoto

The conditions ensured bike-handling skills were crucial on this technical course but the women didn’t hold back.

“I wasn’t expecting the rain but we all just rode a little more cautiously, still aggressive but smart.

“I was trying to make a break away, I knew there was a lot of strong runners in the group and I wanted to test myself,” added Kasper.

Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat, among the favourites leading into today’s race, came off her bike leaving her with work to do on the final stage of the race.

On the final lap of the bike it was Australia’s Gillian Backhouse who positioned herself in front in the hope of a slick transition to run. However the Commonwealth Games bound Australian didn’t quite have the heels to chase down the leaders today, finishing in a strong sixth place.

Nothing but a shoulder could separate Kasper and Van Der Kaay on the run proving that it was going to come down to a fierce sprint finish.

Kasper stormed across the finish line to claim the title with Van Der Kaay in second and Michel in third.

Today’s podium finish was a breakthrough performance for New Zealand’s Van der Kaay who was looking for a strong hit-out ahead of April’s Commonwealth Games. “It was awesome support on home soil, I couldn’t thank them more for that. I was getting cheered the whole way so it’s pretty special. It’s an incredible breakthrough for me, to crack the podium and on home soil,” said Van Der Kaay.

2018 saw Michel from Belgium claim bronze for a consecutive year. “Training has been going well so I was excited to see what I can put together. The community in New Plymouth do an excellent job of welcoming this race”, Michel said.

Taylor Spivey, from USA, and Yuko Takahashi, from Japan claimed fourth and fifth place respectively.

Initial favourite Andrea Hewitt, from New Zealand, held on to cross the line in ninth position.

New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup – Sunday 25th March 2018
750m / 20km / 5km – ELITE WOMEN 

1 – Kirsten Kasper (USA) – 1:03:20
2 – Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL) 1:03:28
3 – Claire Michel (BEL) 1:03:37
4 – Taylor Spivey (USA) – 1:03:50
5 – Yuko Takahashi (JPN) – 1:03:51
6 – Gillian Backhouse (AUS) – 1:03:53
7 – Angelica Olmo (ITA) – 1:03:55
8 – Amelie Kretz (CAN) – 1:03:57
9 – Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 1:04:07
10 – Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) -1:04:12

24th – Kate Waugh (GBR) – 1:08:12

New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup 2018
Photo by @ScottieTPhoto #ScottieTPhoto
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
Latest News
Kristian Blummenfelt Paris Test Event [Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]
Blummenfelt says sub-29 minutes run needed to strike Olympic gold in Paris
Joe Skipper IRONMAN Arizona 2022 [Photo credit Patrick McDermott Getty Images for IRONMAN]
Joe Skipper calls HYROX “the best sport I’ve ever taken part in” after debut in London
Els Visser Fenella Langridge Radka Kahlefeldt Challenge Canberra 2023
IRONMAN Western Australia: Start time, preview and how to follow live
Sam Long wins IRONMAN 703 Gulf Coast 2023 [Photo credit: Julio Aguilar / Getty Images for IRONMAN]
IRONMAN 70.3 Indian Wells: Start time, preview and how to follow live
Collin Chartier - PTO US Open 2022
World Anti-Doping Agency publish List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2024