Aileen Reid put in a quality performance at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final to finish 9th in the Chicago city centre race.
The Grand Final featured the top 77 ranked female triathletes in the world making it arguably more competitive than the Olympic Games where the top nations are limited to a maximum of three athletes.
Reid suffered during the swim leg of her last World Series outing in Edmonton but on this occasion found clear water allowing her to navigate the 1500 metres in a time of 18:05. Katie Zaferes of the USA, who went into the race as the World Number 2 emerged for the water in the lead in a time of 17:50 and a string of athletes followed suit, pushing the pace through the first transition.
The start of the bike was frantic as the leaders looked to pull away from those who had struggled during the swim section. Reid found herself in a small group just seconds off the leading pack but a concerted effort saw her bridge up and Reid would remain comfortably positioned for the remainder of the 40 kilometre bike ride.
Reid’s aggression over the late stages of the bike paid off as she entered the second transition at the front, avoiding much of the congestion as 29 athlete’s scrambles to rack their bikes and don their runners in the transition area.
The pre-race favourite, Gwen Jorgenson had a poor transition but it didn’t faze her as her running class shone through, clocking 32:43 for the final 10 kilometres to claim the Grand Final victory and World Championship title in the process. Non Stanford and Vicky Holland of Great Britain secured their slots at the Rio Olympic Games with silver and bronze respectively.
Once onto the run, Reid was moving very well as she battled it out with a group vying for a top 10 finish. Reid sprinted down the blue carpet ahead of Juri Ide of Japan to secure 9th, posting a 34:49 10 kilometre split after a tough swim-bike.
The result saw the Derry triathlete jump from 11th to finish the season 9th in the World Triathlon Series rankings.
Cork professional, Bryan Keane will race in the elite men’s Grand Final which takes place on Saturday, 23:00 Irish time.
Chicago World Triathlon Series Grand Final Results Here
World Triathlon Series Rankings Here