Aileen Reid has finished in 16th place in the Cape Town leg of the World Triathlon Series, while Ben Shaw claimed his second senior victory in China.

The world’s best female triathletes were racing in the shadow of Table Mountain as the series made its African debut. 

There was some controversy at the start as the Olympic distance swim course was shortened from 1500m to 750m due to the low water temperatures of some 11.5 degrees.

The shortened opening leg favoured the weaker swimmers giving the swim specialists a reduced opportunity to make their strongest discipline count.

Reid, traditionally a strong swimmer, got off to a good start as she exited the water after one lap in 12th spot and just 17 seconds off leader from the water Carolina Routier of Spain.

Through transition one and onto a chaotic first lap of the bike a group of 12 eventually formed and started to pull clear.

Reid had just missed the group and found herself with a large pack behind helping to drive the pace on with the help of Anne Haug and Gwen Jorgensen.

The leading 12 included the likes of Helen Jenkins, Jodie Stimpson, Vicky Holland and Sarah Groff and managed to extend their lead out to an impressive two minutes 12 seconds by the time they hit T2.

WTS Auckland winner Jodie Stimpson was looking for a repeat performance and set out at a blistering speed. No one could keep pace in the early stages and it looked like the GB athlete had victory in the bag.

However, Helen Jenkins hadn't given up quite yet and started to reel in her compatriot.

Neck and neck in the last 500m it was Stimpson who had an extra gear and took her second World Series win of the year.

In the chasing pack Reid had a smooth transition and was running very well, picking off the stragglers from the leading 12.

Her 35:23, 10k run split was the 12th fastest of the day as she outran many from the chase pack and picked off those who started out with a 2:12 advantage from T2.

“It’s a fantastic start to the season considering its Aileen’s first race and she is just working towards full race fitness,” commented Triathlon Ireland’s technical director Tommy Evans.

“Lots of room for improvement as the season goes on and with the Commonwealth Games coming up in July our athletes are in good shape.”

The stand-out run was from USA’s Gwen Jorgensen who clocked 32:46, by far the fastest of the day, as she clawed herself up from the chase pack to the bottom step of the podium.

Meanwhile Ireland’s Ben Shaw, at just 22-years-old, notched up his second senior international victory at the Zhenjiang Asian Cup in a time of 1:48:37.

The talented young triathlete is ranked inside the top 50 in the world followed a string of top results in World Cup and World Series races this year.

Shaw went into the race as the number one ranked athlete and did not disappoint as he exited the water just seconds off the leader and in third place.

Always an aggressive racer the Brisbane born triathlete pushed on during the 40k bike leg, stormed through transition two in just 22 seconds and went on to clock a 31:04 10k run to take the win.

Ukrainian native Rostyslav Pevtsov took silver just four seconds back with John O’Neill of the USA 3rd in 1:48:59.

Corkman Bryan Keane and Conor Murphy from Armagh are in action at 2pm on Sunday for the men's Cape Town World Triathlon.