Laurent Vidal (France) showed his class in a head to head battle with Ryan Sissons (Auckland) at the Oceania Cup Triathlon in Kinloch today while Kate McIlroy once again stamped her class on the New Zealand summer of triathlon with a dominant win, with the event doubling as the National Triathlon Sprint Championships for the New Zealanders.
Vidal and Sissons swam well, exiting the water in a lead group of 8 athletes that included another race favourite in Tony Dodds (Wanaka), but disaster struck for Dodds at the first lap turn around when he crashed with Lyons (Australia) and had his left ankle caught in the spokes, ending his race before it had really got under way.
Vidal and Sissons rode on though, and with ITU athlete Ben Shaw (currently transferring between Ireland and Australia) they began to dominate on the tight and technical course in beautiful conditions.
Initially on the run it looked like Sissons and Shaw might have too much pace for Vidal, but the world number six found his rhythm and took the lead just prior to the end of the first lap of two before running clear from Sissons and Shaw to victory.
“I raced here in 2009 but punctured but from what I remember it was a hard race and today proved that, it was a tough bike. The swim was crucial to set up for the bike, we kept pushing on the bike and they started so quick on the run I fell off the pace a bit but I caught Ryan and I think maybe I had a little more strength than Ryan on the run, everyone had a good day today though, it is always tough to beat the Kiwis at home.”
Vidal wasn’t aware that Dodds was no longer in the group on the bike, let alone that he had crashed out.
“I wasn’t aware that Doddsy had crashed, I was concentrating on taking my turn on the bike and staying in control so I wasn’t aware, I hope he is okay of course.”
Sissons was pleased with his day’s work, especially considering he had a week off with a calf strain after Wanaka a fortnight ago.
“I am pleased with where I am at this early in the season, the running doesn’t really matter much at the moment, I have been working on the swim and that was great today. The big focus is Auckland in April so there is plenty of work to do yet but today was a good hit out for sure.”
In the women’s race McIlroy emerged from the water in a lead group of four but quickly went to work on the testing bike course, and midway through Sophie Corbidge (Auckland) was the only athlete to be anywhere near the London Olympian.
“I wanted to bike hard, there wasn’t as many girls with me,” said McIlroy. “Sophie rode really well she stayed with me for a few laps and it would have been nice to have some company for the last few laps but I wanted to keep going, see what I could do and see how I could run off it. The lead happened naturally, when you are by yourself you can descend and corner quicker and make some time on the corners, but I just wanted to bike solid and run as well as I could so I am really happy with that.
“I think I had 2 minutes off the bike but I still wanted to run hard and while it isn’t the same as having someone pushing you but I still ran as hard as I could today. I am very happy with that, it is always nice to win at home and on a tough testing course.”
Athletes enjoyed stunning conditions throughout the day, with age group titles decided earlier in the day and the Erin Baker standard distance race getting things underway with a popular winner in the women’s event as former World Champion Sam Warriner proved an easy winner in the women’s event.
Tomorrow morning at the same location sees age group Tri Tag Relay racing, with the Oceania Cup elite Mixed Teams racing to round of the event. The age group relays are at 9am followed by the elite team’s race at 11am.
ITU Oceania Cup (and NZ National Sprint Triathlon Championships)
750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
1 Laurent Vidal France 57:55
2 Ryan Sissons Auckland 58:09
3 Ben Shaw ITU 58:49
4 Martin van Barneveld Wellington 59:04
5 Bryan Keane Ireland 59:38
1 Kate McIlroy Wellington 1:03:01
2 Sophie Corbidge Auckland 1:05:52
3 Mikayla Nielsen Waikato 1:06:01
4 Sarah Dueble Australia 1:06:58
5 Fiona Crombie Christchurch 1:07:18