Joao Pereira edges out Santa Cruz’s Tommy Zaferes during a sprint to the finish at the Sarasota (Fla.) ITU Pan American Triathlon on Saturday.
Joao Pereira edges out Santa Cruz's Tommy Zaferes during a sprint to the finish at the Sarasota (Fla.) ITU Pan American Triathlon on Saturday. (USA Triathlon/contributed)

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Santa Cruz's Tommy Zaferes led the way for the Americans on Saturday, earning second place in a sprint to the finish at the inaugural Sarasota ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup at Nathan Benderson Park.

Zaferes was edged out in the last 200 meters of the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course to finish second in 1 hour, 44 minutes, 35 seconds. Joao Pereira of Portugal took the tape in 1:44:33, and Miguel Arraiolos, also of Portugal, rounded out the podium with a time of 1:45:08.

Just one week after competing at the Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan America Cup, Zaferes and Luke Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo.) were two-three out of the water, trailing Canadian Andrew McCartney, who had a 13-second advantage. The three athletes formed the lead pack before McCartney broke away, and Zaferes and Farkas were caught by the chase group, which included Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), Brian Fleishmann (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Eric Lagerstrom (Gresham, Ore.).

Entering T2, a lead pack of six, including Zaferes and Maloy, had stacked up a near 2-minute lead on the chase pack. Zaferes and eventual winner Pereira ran away from the chasers. Heading into the final lap, they were 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. In the final 200 meters, the pair sprinted to the finish and Pereira out-kicked Zaferes at the line for the win.


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Zaferes' second-place finish is his best result on the ITU circuit since he finished second at the Myrtle Beach ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup in 2011.

In the women's race, Canada's Paula Findlay won in 1:57:51. Carolina Routier of Spain was second with a time of 1:58:12, and Vendula Frintova from the Czech Republic logged a time of 1:58:44 to finish third.

Sarasota ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup

Men's Top 10

(1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run)
1. Joao Pereira (POR), 1:44:33

2. Tommy Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:44:35
3. Miguel Arraiolols (POR), 1:45:08
4. Andrew Yorke (CAN), 1:45:18
5. Conor Murphy (IRL), 1:45:42
6. Joe Maloy (Wildwood Crest, N.J.), 1:45:52
7. Bruno Pais (POR), 1:46:13
8. Fransesc Godoy (ESP), 1:46:36
9. Eric Lagerstrom (Gresham, Ore.), 1:46:58
10. Brian Fleishmann (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:47:08