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Posted: March 5, 2016:  

Triathlon: Renée Tomlin Leads U.S. at WTS Abu Dhabi with 5th

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- The 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series kicked off Saturday with ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, and USA Triathlon National Team member Renée Tomlin was the top American and fifth overall in the first major race in the lead-up to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

Renée Tomlin was the top American on Saturday at WTS Abu Dhabi. (Wagner Araujo/ITU)

Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.) clocked in at 1 hour, 57 minutes, 2 seconds on the Olympic-distance 1500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course for her second career top-five finish in a WTS event. Great Britain's Jodie Stimpson picked up the win in 1:56:10, while Australian Ashleigh Gentle was second and Briton Helen Jenkins was third.

Sarah True (Hanover, N.H.) and Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) were in the lead group coming out of the water, while Tomlin and Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.) were in the chase pack roughly 40 seconds back at the first transition. Throughout the six bike laps, the chase pack, led by Gentle and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Nicola Spirig of Switzerland, made up ground to merge the groups with just a few kilometers to go before the run. In the final kilometer, a bike crash in the massive group of riders took down a few athletes, including True and Spirig.

Once out on the run, the eventual podium finishers along with Bermuda's Flora Duffy and Emmie Charayron of France broke away from the field, with Tomlin trailing. Stimpson broke away in the final kilometer to take the lead and the win, while Tomlin held on for a solid fifth-place effort.

In the men's race, Jason West (State College, Pa.) made his WTS debut and finished 46th, while Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.) finished 49th. Spain's Mario Mola claimed the win in Abu Dhabi for the second straight year.

The races are available on-demand at, and will be broadcast in the U.S. through NBC Sports Group. The elite women's race is scheduled to air on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 5, and the elite men's race set to air on Universal HD at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 6.

WTS Abu Dhabi and other World Triathlon Series races through May 15 will allow athletes to earn valuable points as the ITU Olympic qualification period winds down. The Olympic qualification points list will determine which countries secure quota spots to field teams for the Olympic Games, with eight nations able to earn a maximum of three quota spots per gender. The final qualification event for the U.S. is WTS Yokohama on May 15, and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Team roster will be announced shortly thereafter.

The next stop on the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series circuit is WTS Gold Coast on April 9.

ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi
1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Elite Women - Complete Results
1. Jodie Stimpson (GBR), 1:56:10
2. Ashleigh Gentile (AUS), 1:56:19
3. Helen Jenkins (GBR), 1:56:26
U.S. Finishers
5. Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), 1:57:02
21. Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.), 1:58:16
DNF Sarah True (Hanover, N.H.), Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.)
Elite Men - Complete Results
1. Mario Mola (ESP), 1:46:39
2. Richard Murray (RSA), 1:46: 54
3. Joao Silva (POR), 1:47:08
U.S. Finishers
46. Jason West (State College, Pa.), 1:50:30
49. Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), 1:51:11
DNF Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.)

About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

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