by USA Triathlon, June 17, 2018.
ANTWERP, Belgium — Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) earned her sixth career ITU Triathlon World Cup victory in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday, reaching the podium in ITU competition for the first time this season. On the men’s side, Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) led the U.S. contingent with a sixth-place finish.
Antwerp was a first-time ITU World Cup host, serving up a sprint-distance course that featured a 750-meter swim, 22.6-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
Cook started off strong in the women’s race, coming out of the water in second place just two seconds behind Lucy Hall of Great Britain. Not far behind were Valerie Barthelemy of Belgium, Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) and Natalie Van Coevorden of Australia, and those five got out onto an early lead on the bike.
The cobblestone streets proved challenging, though, and after the first lap the leaders were caught by the seven-woman chase pack. By the time they hit the second transition, the 12 leading women had 27 seconds on the rest of the field. The podiums would come down to the run, and Cook, Gorman and Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.) were all still in the mix for the U.S.
Cook pulled away almost immediately in the first kilometer of the run, recording a 16-minute, 48-second 5k to take the win in 1:02:52. Great Britain’s Beth Potter ran a race-leading 16:37 5k split, chasing down several competitors to claim silver in 1:03:11. Verena Steinhauser of Italy held on for the bronze in 1:03:13.
The win gives Cook her sixth career victory and 10th medal overall on the ITU World Cup circuit.