Just three weeks before she attempts to recapture the World Cross Country title in Brussels, Belgium (20/21 March), Britain's Paula Radcliffe has suffered an unexpected defeat by the Netherlands' Lorna Kiplagat over 10km on the road in Puerto Rico.
It was both Radcliffe's and Kiplagat's first race of 2004, and marked a return to the scene of the event in which the Briton set her World record performance 12 months ago (30:21), but Kiplagat, who finished fifth at last summer's World 10,000m final in Paris in a national record (30:12.53), was victorious this time.
In very windy conditions, Kenyan-born Kiplagat - who took out Dutch citizenship last year when marrying coach Pieter Langerhorst - won in a time of 30:41.
That was four seconds quicker than World Marathon record holder Radcliffe, who was chasing a third-successive victory at the event.
The race was a two-way affair between Kiplagat who has a 10km road best of 30:32 (2002) and for the Marathon of 2:22:22 (2003), the British whose last previous outing was winning the European Cross Country title in December.
Constantina Tomescu-Dita of Romania finished third in 32:00.
There was a clean sweep of the medals for Kenya in the men's race. David Korir won in a time of 27:48
Top Results -
1. John Korir KEN 27:47
2. Wilson Kiprotich KEN 27:48
3. Paul Kosgei KEN 28:05
1. Lornah Kiplagat NED 30:41
2. Paula Radcliffe GBR 30:45
3. Constantina Tomescu-Dita ROM 32:00