Erin Densham wins World Cup triathlon

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MOOLOOLABA, Australia (AP)

Australian Erin Densham won the win the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup triathlon Sunday, taking a slender lead in the swim and powering away in the final 5 kilometers of the run.

Densham finished in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 31 seconds, a 52-second gap over second-place Nicola Spirig of Switzerland in the Olympic qualifier.

Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand, who had won her last three triathlons, including the world championship final in Beijing, was third, another 6 seconds behind.

Beijing Olympic gold medalist Emma Snowsill withdrew because of illness. Snowsill, who flew in from her training base in South Africa on Wednesday, has been fighting a gastrointestinal virus since arriving back in Australia.

Britain's Liz Blatchford was fourth, 1:44 behind Densham, followed by Rachel Klamer of the Netherlands, Daniela Ryf of Switzerland and Americans Laura Bennett and Gwen Jorgensen.

Emma Moffatt of Australia, the Beijing bronze medalist who has already gained selection for Australia for the London Games, was ninth, more than 2 minutes behind Densham, followed by Lisa Norden of Sweden in 10th.

Bennett led out of the 40-kilometer cycling leg with Densham dropping to sixth in a tightly packed group heading into the 10-kilometer run leg.

The race along this oceanfront resort city attracted a large international group of athletes because of qualifying for the London Games. Of the 44 starters Sunday representing 21 countries, 18 were current or former Olympians.

The top eight nations on the international rankings by the May 31 deadline receive three men and three women team members at the Olympics.

It was to be Snowsill's first race of the season. She'll now need to focus on her next race, the ITU World Championship series opener in Sydney on April 14, in an attempt to qualify as one of the three Australians for London.

Moffatt, based on recent form, was selected by the Australian Olympic Committee in December as one of the three on the Australian team.

Another of those spots is likely to be taken by another Emma, former world under-23 champion Emma Jackson, after she won the Oceania title in Devonport, Tasmania three weeks ago.

On Saturday, New Zealand-based Laurent Vidal of France beat two-time defending champion Brad Kahlefeldt of Australia in a sprint finish to win the men's race, which also was a London Games qualifier.

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