The racing was fast and furious in tough conditions in Florida, as Angelica Olmo (ITA) successfully held off Sara Perez Sala to take the tape and finish of the season with a hefty pay check at CLASH Daytona 2022.
Swim – Sala and Barthelemy battle it out
The racing got underway to a ferocious start in Daytona as former short course specialist Perez Sala of Spain and Belgian Tokyo Olympian Valerie Barthelemy battled it out at the front for the first lap swim bonus.
It was Barthelemy who took the $1,000 bonus, clocking 10:56 for the first lap to just pip Sala by two seconds. By the second lap, however, the pair couldn’t be separated, as the Spaniard led into T1 by a hair.
Behind the leading duo, Julie Derron (SUI) was third out 0:30 behind, with Haley Chura (USA) and Sif Bendix Madsen (DEN) alongside her as the first five got on to the bike within half a minute of each other.
Further back in the female field of 19, defending champion Jackie Hering (USA) came out of the water 2:07 down from the front, with the former winner leaving a lot to do but looking strong as she started out on her pursuit of the leaders on the bike.
Bike – Olmo takes bonus as Sala holds lead
Sala continued to take the race by the scruff of its neck out on the bike, as the Spaniard extended her lead over the likes of Derron, Chura and Madsen early on. Barthelemy, who came out of the water with Sala, paid for a slow T1 as she quickly fell behind.
By the time they reached 20km on the bike, Madsen had worked her way up to second, with Olmo, who took the fastest first lap bonus of $1,000 on the bike, also working her way up to fourth over the first few laps of the bike.
Further back, Hering moved through the field well lap after lap, as Estonian Olympian Kaidi Kivioja also worked her way up to the front of the race, with the duo riding up to fourth and fifth place by the end of the bike.
Into T2, Perez Sala had a lead of 0:35 over Madsen, with Olmo 1:19 behind the leader. In fourth was Kivioja with a big deficit of 4:05 to make up, accompanied by Hering and Derron who had also left a lot of work to do on the run, with almost three minutes separating this trio from the podium.
Run – Olmo battles to the win
Out on the run, Perez Sala quickly put time into second-placed Madsen, as the main threat to the Spaniard’s chances of victory seemed to come from further behind, with Olmo, Derron and Hering quickly making up time on the race leader.
At four miles, Olmo made the pass on Sala, but couldn’t quite break the band, as the Spaniard continued to hold strong behind her, with the gap stabilising at 10 seconds, as Olmo showed signs of suffering.
Moments later, Derron overtook Madsen, with the young Swiss short course specialist eating up the run course, as she took the $2,000 bonus for fastest T2 and fastest first lap out on the run.
As the race entered the final lap, the battle for first and third was heating up, as Olmo struggled to hold off Perez Sala, with Hering closing in on Derron and the final podium spot, with the American running hard and closing strong on the Swiss.
In the end, Olmo proved too strong for Perez Sala, as the wildcard took the win in Daytona. An emotional Olmo took the tape 30 seconds to the good,, with Derron holding off Herring to finish in third place.
After the race, Olmo said: “This year I’ve had a really hard time, I had a big depression and I thought I was done, I’m really happy for this win today. It was really hard out there, especially with the heat and the last lap was so hard mentally.”
CLASH Daytona 2022 results
Friday 2 December 2022 – 1.6km / 60km / 13.2km
- 1. Angelica Olmo (ITA) – 2:40:11
- 2. Sara Perez Sala (ESP) – 2:40:39
- 3. Julie Derron (SUI) – 2:41:55
- 4. Jackie Herring (USA) – 2:42:18
- 5. Haley Chura (USA) – 2:43:52
- 6. Kaidi Kivioja (EST) – 2:44:19
- 7. Sif Bendix Madsen (DEN) – 2:45:18
- 8. Valerie Barthelemy (BEL) – 2:46:21
- 9. Grace Alexander (USA) – 2:47:36
- 10. Lesley Smith (USA) – 2:48:37