REUTERS: Denmark's Alberte Kjaer Pedersen produced a superb display on Saturday to secure her maiden World Triathlon Cup gold medal in Huatulco, Mexico, in the final event for women during the Olympic qualifying period.
Pedersen clocked an overall time of 1:00:24 to finish ahead of American Kirsten Kasper (1:00:36) and Austria's Lisa Perterer (1:00:37), who were locked in a tight battle for second place towards the end.
Kasper was first out of the water in just under 10 minutes and was at the head of a 20-woman lead pack on the bike, but she lost ground to a dominant Pedersen on the run.
The 22-year-old Dane switched gears in the final 2.5km to pull away from her rivals.
"It was really nice racing here, it went really well," Pedersen, who overcame hot and humid conditions to secure the victory for crucial ranking points, said.
"My legs were feeling good and I was feeling comfortable and when I turned round I realised there was nobody close.
"I was injured for the start of the qualification period for Tokyo but who knows what might happen... I'll keep my fingers crossed."
Thirty-five athletes will compete in the women's triathlon at the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Olympics, with 26 of them determined by the individual world rankings.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru)