Defending Champion Away To Winning Start
Defending Champion Away To Winning Start In Triathlon Series
Stunning conditions greeted competitors in the first of the 7 race Tri NZ my sport series in Rotorua today. Blue Lake warmed up to a sprightly 18 degrees and the sun shone brightly on the 300 competitors.
Shining brightest of all though were last year’s overall Contact Energy Series champion Stephen Sheldrake in winning the men’s race and Whangarei’s Katherine Anton, the Contact Energy Cup Race by just over two minutes, a margin made all the more comfortable with the withdrawal late on the bike leg of closest competitor and Ironman regular Kieran Doe.
Doe was vying for the lead with Sheldrake when his chain jammed, bending his derailier and forcing his exit from what was shaping as an exciting duel.
One of Tri-NZ’s High Performance coaching team, Sheldrake loved the course and the conditions.
“This is a tough course but one that suited me. The hill on the bike made it tough and took the sting out of some of the runners in the race but suited me down to the ground. The trail run was weird though; you were effectively running blind and just had to keep the foot down the whole way.”
Sheldrake exited the bike with an incredible 4 minute margin over Tristan Caldwell but it was just as well, the North Shore based athlete took two minutes out of Sheldrake and comfortably held on to second ahead of Wanaka’s Tony Dodds.
31-year-old Anton was a surprise winner of the women’s race, upstaging the more favoured Fleur Bromley and Belinda Harper with an impressive day’s work. Tenth overall last year in the Contact Energy Series, the Whangarei athlete was delighted with her day.
“What a venue, this is surely the best place in the world you could hope to race a triathlon, it is stunning. I enjoyed that immensely and the run suited me today, both the toughness of the course and the extra kilometre played to my strength.”
Following Anton home was Janine Sax who led off the bike and Bromley in third after suffering chain problems during the bike leg cost her any chance of victory today.
Marina Fowell (Whakatane) and Belinda Harper (Auckland) led out of the water but were soon overtaken on the bike leg. Fowell though was an impressive performer, easily winning her 45 to 49 year age group.
The day was also notable for the number of first time competitors taking part in the Tri My Sport race over a shorter distance, introducing yet more people to this fast growing and hugely successful sport.
The next race in the 7 race my sport series is Takapuna on December 2nd when for the first time racing will take part in the early evening with the main street closed to create a party atmosphere.
Energy Cup 1500m swim, 40km bike, 11km
1 Stephen Sheldrake Gisborne 2:07:17
2 Tristan Caldwell Auckland 2:09:52
3 Tony Dodds Wanaka 2:10:55
4 Martin van Barneveld Wellington 2:10:59
5 Rob Creasy Christchurch 2:14:29
1 Katherine Anton Whangarei 2:30:10
2 Janine Sax Mt Maunganui 2:34:24
3 Fleur Bromley Auckland 2:35:57
4 Marina Fowell Whakatane 2:40:18
5 Sonia Hill 2:40:24
Full results, including the Tri My Sport race, will be posted to www.triathlon.org.nz later today
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Photos by Mike Heydon