DALLAS, Texas - 2012 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team qualifier Laura Bennett was victorious in a tune-up for London, and Lukas Verzbicas claimed his first professional win to highlight Saturday's Dallas ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup.
Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) covered the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 22 seconds to record her second ITU podium finish of the season. She also placed third at the ITU World Triathlon San Diego on May 11 to lock up a spot on her second consecutive U.S. Olympic Team. Canada's Joanna Brown was second in 2:10:50, and Manon Letourneau took third to round out the women's podium in 2:13:00.
The U.S. men and women combined for 12 top-10 finishes in Dallas, including a fifth-place effort from Kevin McDowell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who competed in his first ITU event since March 2011 after overcoming Hodgkin's lymphoma.
In addition to the ITU Pan American Cup, Dallas also hosted USA Triathlon Youth F1 (ages 12-16) and Elite Development Races (ages 16-23) Saturday morning. These events are designed to provide top up-and-coming triathletes with draft-legal racing experience.
The sprint-distance Elite Development Race wins went to Canada's Gabrielle Edwards in 1:04:29 and USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program athlete Justin Roeder (Fishers, Ind.) in 59:28. Stephanie Jenks (Aurora, Iowa) won the super-sprint-distance girls' Youth F1 race in 35:03, while Stone Dyson (Richmond, Va.) and Mexico's Ivan Rodriguez went 1-2 in the boys' race with matching times of 34:01.
Dallas ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup -
(1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
Women's Top-10 Finishers
1. Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), 2:10:22
2. Joanna Brown (CAN), 2:10:50
3. Manon Letourneau (CAN), 2:13:00
4. Alexandra Coates (CAN), 2:14:40
5. Mireille Rodrigue (CAN), 2:16:19
6. Amanda Hahn (Boulder, Colo.), 2:18:15
7. D'Ann Arthur (Dallas, Texas), 2:18:26
8. Erika Erickson (Berkeley, Calif.), 2:19:03
9. Anna Battiata (Mechanicsville, Va.), 2:19:54
10. Brianna Blanchard (Boston, Mass.), 2:23:33
Men's Top-10 Finishers
1. Lukas Verzbicas (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:57:56
2. Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.), 1:58:59
3. Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), 1:59:10
4. Alexander Hinton (CAN), 1:59:37
5. Kevin McDowell (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 2:00:11
6. Jason Pedersen (Simi Valley, Calif.), 2:00:21
7. Andrew Russell (CAN), 2:00:46
8. Gerardo Vergara (GUA), 2:00:48
9. William Huffman (Colleyville, Texas), 2:00:59
10. Hernan Rubiano (COL), 2:01:04
Photo Credit: Laura Bennett earned her second ITU podium finish of the season Saturday. (Paul Phillips/Competitive Image)