Lisa Tertsch holds the blue finishing tape aloft with a huge smile
Lisa Tertsch, copyright World Triathlon

Just a week after securing her ticket to the Paris 2024 Olympics, Germany’s Lisa Tertsch produced an outstanding run to claim the victory at the first edition of the Tangier World Cup. The debut of Morocco on the World Triathlon World Cup circuit delivered a thrilling Sprint race that saw some of the fastest runners of the circuit claiming the first positions. Spain’s Noelia Juan crossed the finish line in second place, showing again that she is in great form, while Sweden’s rising star Tilda Mansson was third on the day.

Morocco became the first African country out of South Africa to ever host a World Cup, and the coastal city rose to the occasion. With hundreds of spectators lining up on the streets, 64 athletes lined up for a Sprint distance race that started with a beach start and a long run -due to the low tide for the women’s race- to the seaside, to then face a 750m swim on the Atlantic Ocean on quite cold temperatures, low enough for athletes to be wearing a wetsuit even though the air temperature was almost 30ºC.

Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer (HUN), Mathilde Gaultier (FRA) and Therese Feuersinger (AUT) were the first ones to navigate the waves and headed to the first buoy with a few meters lead, a long tail of athletes forming behind them. The three of them also navigated the waves smartly to be the first ones out of the water, to face a few meters ahead of the chasers the long run across the beach and 20 steps that led to the first transition.

The leading trio left transition almost ten seconds ahead a chasing group that started immediately to try to get organised, with Lotte Miller (NOR), Claire Michel (BEL), Vicky Holland (GBR) and Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) taking turns up front. But the leading three were flying through the long avenue, using the tailwind as much as possible to avoid being caught by the chasers.

Halfway through the 20km bike ride, Miller proved that she is one of the strongest bikers on the circuit to break away from the chase pack and quickly catching the leaders, organising them to ride together always 15 seconds ahead until the end of the bike. The chaser’s pack included most of the fast runners, and they allowed the leaders to stay up front but always keeping them under 30 seconds, knowing that if it all came down to a run race, their chances were still there.

By the time the four leaders hit the second transition, they had 30 seconds of advantage, but it wouldn’t be enough. Lisa Tertsch and Noelia Juan had a fabulous transition, six seconds faster than Kuttor-Bragmayer, and started the chase together as soon as they were in their running shoes.

Running shoulder to shoulder, Tertsch and Juan caught up with Feuersinger and Miller first, and before passing through transition for the last lap of the run they were both already leading the race, with Gaultier, Michel, Mansson, Rachel Klamer (NED), Vermeylen and Holland in a pack 13 seconds behind, and just one medal to fight for. Mansson, who struggled at the end of the bike and through the second transition, decided that if she wanted to podium, she would need to increase the pace a bit more in the last kilometer, and so she did.

And it was almost at the blue carpet when Tertsch showed her speed to charge once again, leaving Juan a few meters behind. Tertsch was all smiles crossing the finish line in the first place, also clicking the fastest run split on the day at 16’32’‘. “I was confident that my run was good. I wanted to have as much advantage as possible before starting the run, so I tried to enter transition in front of the group and have a good transition, and I think I did it right. I keep working on the speed on my run, and speed seems to come pretty quickly for me, so I was confident that I could do it. I am really happy with my performance today”, she said, on her first world cup gold after four years.

Noelia Juan secured a silver medal that proves that the young Spaniard is one to be considered for the Olympic team, rounding with this podium the silver medal she got in Tiszy World Cup this year, her fourth place in Valencia and the 9th on the Pontevedra Championship Finals. “After Pontevedra I felt really good, I was really confident with my performance there and I was able to have another great race today. Today I tried to stay in the front of the swim but it was too difficult with the waves, but on the bike I felt really strong and I had the legs for the run today. Congratulations to Lisa for the great race today”, she explained.

Behind them, Mansson outsprinted Vermeylen to claim the bronze medal, her of her career after her victories in Bergen 2022 and Tiszy 23 World Cups. “I really wanted to bring home a medal today so I pushed really hard on that sprint finish, and I was able to get it. I am really happy”, she said. Rachel Klamer crossed the line in fifth place, another solid run for the Dutch woman who has already secured her presence at the Paris Olympics. Claire Michel was sixth, and Vicky Holland seventh on her first race after giving birth to her first child only eight months ago, while Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer rounded the top 8 on the day.

Results: Elite Women

1. Lisa Tertsch, GER, 00:58:46

2. Noelia Juan, ESP, 00:58:58

3. Tilda Månsson, SWE, 00:59:02

4. Jolien Vermeylen, BEL, 00:59:04

5. Rachel Klamer, NED, 00:59:09