Andrea Hewitt turned on a stunning performance when it mattered most, winning the Grand Final of the Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Champs Series in Beijing today, destroying the best field assembled this year in hot and humid conditions.
29 year old Hewitt came into the Grand Final in fourth place overall in the championship, knowing she needed a strong performance to finish the season in the top three, she did so in style as the tough Cantabrian out-kicked Helen Jenkins (GBR) inside the final kilometre to record a superb victory that propelled her to second in the overall series behind the British athlete.
It was a strong overall showing from the Kiwis with Kate McIlroy defying a lack of running in the lead up to finish 6th, missing the bronze medal by mere seconds in a mass sprint while Debbie Tanner was prominent throughout the swim and bike before fading on the run.
Hewitt was elated with her win, saying the key was catching the lead group on the bike so quickly after a slower than usual swim.
“That is awesome. I just missed the leaders out of the water, I think it was 12 seconds but I bridged quickly on to the lead group up the hill the first time and from then I just really sat there and wait and sit and we worked really well together. Kate did so much work on the bike, I wasn’t sure if she was going to run but she just kept going through to the front on the bike and working so hard so yeah, I really want to thank her.
“This year I have been so close I have had two thirds and two fourths in the series so to come here and win, it is the best feeling.”
Hewitt ran side by side with Jenkins throughout the 10km but made her move as the two came back into the spectator area near the finish with 1km to go.
“I wasn’t sure when I was going to make it (the move) but I knew I had extra energy then because I was following the whole time, I knew she would be really strong so I just pushed and gave it everything for the last part of the run.”
McIlroy too had every reason to be pleased with her strong showing given the injury plagued build up.
“It was really unknown for me, I tore my calf 5 weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I could run today, so I wanted to get as much work on the bike as possible and help Andrea out, I knew there were few other contenders in that group that could challenge her for world number one, so I thought I might as well work as hard as I can and if I could run I could run and yes, I found out I could run!
“I didn’t have much of a sprint on me but I have done hardly any running in the past 5 weeks so I am really happy with 6th. Today I was able to draw on my running background and the strength course suited me. Every step I was worried my leg was going to tear again but it didn’t, so yah, I am really stoked and I am really glad Andrea won as well.”
Tanner came home 25th while Nicky Samuels finished 33rd after missing the lead group out of the water and then ensuring she didn’t ride aggressively for fear of dragging her group up to the leaders. This was all the more important give a number of leading challengers to Hewitt were in that group, including Emma Jackson (AUS) and Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI).
Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series
Elite Women, Beijing
1 Andrea Hewitt NZL 01:58:26
2 Helen Jenkins GBR 01:58:40
3 Melanie Annaheim SUI 01:58:58
4 Lisa Norden SWE 01:59:00
5 Laura Bennett USA 01:59:02
6 Kate McIlroy NZL 01:59:04
7 Jessica Harrison FRA 01:59:09
8 Liz Blatchford GBR 02:00:11
9 Flora Duffy BER 02:00:24
10 Sarah Groff USA 02:00:37
25 Debbie Tanner NZL 02:02:08
33 Nicky Samuels NZL 02:02:55