New Zealand triathlete Sam Warriner climbed to second in the World Cup rankings today after claiming silver in France in the first event on the circuit since the Beijing Olympics.
In the north-western city of Lorient, Warriner finished behind Lisa Norden, who grabbed the debut cup win of her career and also for the first for Sweden in International Triathlon Union history.
Norden crossed the finish line after two hours two minutes and five seconds, with Warriner 34sec back.
Frenchwoman Jessica Harrison gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about by coming third, 5sec behind Warriner, to get on the cup podium for the first time.
Warriner’s result took her above injured Briton Helen Tucker in the rankings and within striking distance of Australian leader Felicity Abram with one race to go.
The final round is in Huatulco, Mexico, on October 26.
Warriner said she didn’t have the best start to the swim leg, but held her position in the main pack.
Out of the water, she had a good transition and led the chase to rein in leaders Harrison and American Sarah Groff, who were caught on the third of the bicycle leg’s eight laps.
Warriner confessed the cycle leg was “erratic and messy” for her and, having got to the front, she had wasted energy chasing attacks that didn’t go anywhere.
During the run, she hung on as the competitors at the head of the field steadily dropped off the pace except for Norden.
“I ran well, considering my strong bike leg, so I was stoked,” she said.
For Warriner, the outcome was extra special because of Beijing, where she finished 16th after her medal hopes were dashed by a crash at the end of the cycle leg.
“It meant so much because of my disappointment at the Olympics,” she said.
“People say that champions are ones that come back from a failure and disappointment and today I did that.”
In other New Zealand results, Andrea Hewitt was ninth, Debbie Tanner 14th and Nicky Samuels 17th on her return to World Cup racing after injury.
In the men’s race, Clark Ellice recorded a fine seventh placing, while Kris Gemmell withdrew during the run.
The men’s winner was Frenchman Cedric Fleureton, ahead of compatriot Tony Moulai, with Spain’s Ivan Rana third.