Carolyn Hayes took a massive step towards qualification for the Tokyo Games with a superb second place finish at today's World Cup triathlon in Lisbon.

In finishing behind double Olympic medalist Nicola Spirig of Switzerland, Hayes became the first Irish woman to stand on a World Cup podium since Aileen Reid in 2013.

With just a handful of races left in the qualifying period, the result all but guarantees the Limerick athlete’s participation in Tokyo.

The 33-year-old took the lead as the field transitioned from the 40km bike leg to 10km run and only relinquished first place in the closing 1,500m.

"I have worked really hard like everyone throughout the last year and half, I am very confident on the bike so knew if I stayed and it came down to a running race that I would be okay," she said afterwards.

"I think everyone is racing thinking 'I want to go to the Olympics’ so you just have to keep digging in and I was just so determined."

Chloe Pollard finished 40th overall, two places better off than Maeve Gallagher.