Strong Showing From Kiwis But Haug Too Strong In Mooloolaba
17 March 2013
For immediate release from Triathlon New Zealand, for further information visit www.triathlon.org.nz
Strong Showing From Kiwis But Haug Too Strong In
Anne Haug (GER) continued on in 2013 where she left off last year, the 2012 World Triathlon Series grand final winner taking out the opening ITU World Cup of the year in a hot and windy Mooloolaba today with Kiwi Andrea Hewitt posting a strong first up result with fourth place in a field high on quality, if not quantity.
The Kiwis were all prominent throughout the swim and the bike, with Rebecca Clarke and Simone Ackermann gaining vital experience in the lead group with Hewitt until they hit the run, then the going got tough with Ackermann collapsing over the line in 10th and Clarke coming home 11th. Both had expended all the energy they had on a hot and windy day.
Mikayla Nielsen was racing at elite level over the standard distance for one of the first times in her career and after missing the lead group out of the swim, was forced to ride in the windy conditions solo and was not able to complete the course under ITU rules. The teenager will nonetheless have gained vital experience from the race.
Haug showed her strength on the bike and run to destroy a quality field, leaving Jodie Stimpson (GBR) and local hope Emma Moffatt (AUS) in second and third place with 2012 world number 3 Hewitt in fourth.
Haug was delighted and more than surprised with her form.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all, I had a really good preparation but I was racing so late last season. I wanted to be in the first bike group so I could save my legs. The run felt really easy for me so for the last part I thought I will go and see if I have another gear and I did so I am really happy, I did not expect that at all.
“I don’t want to save anything on the bike this year though, my main focus this year is to catch up on the swim and then see what happens, you can never plan a race. I had to see which bike group I would get and I got the first group so I was happy with that.”
After a poor swim, Haug had to move quickly through the first transition.
“I concentrated on my transition, it is very important, you can make up a few meters and catch up on the others, I try to go out of T2 in front also so I can go at my pace and not go too hard,” said Haug.
“I dream of being world champion, like everyone if you are second you want to go one better but you can’t influence the others so I will just go as hard as I can and see what the season holds for me.”
Hewitt looked back on a satisfying and tough first race of the season but is already looking ahead to the Barfoot & Thompson World Triathlon in Auckland on April 6.
“I stayed in the run on the first lap, I wasn’t very comfortable but I knew with only four of us at the front there was nowhere else to run or hide so I stuck with them, I dropped after one lap but came back on the downhill. I had to then run at my own pace though from there to the finish.
“That was definitely a hard race and good to get that out of the way ahead of the start of the World Triathlon Series season in Auckland next month.”
Moffat had the locals cheering when she emerged from the swim leg in first place, in the process taking the US$500 bonus. She had good company though, with Hewitt, Rebecca Clarke (NZL), Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS), Simone Ackermann (NZL), Aileen Reid (IRL) and Stimpson (GBR) in the lead group.
Haug was a little slower out of the water but powered across the 175 metre run from the beach to the first transition and then the 60 metre gap to the leaders, ensuring she would not be left stranded in a chase group on the bike. Emma Jackson (AUS) and Maaike Caelers (NED) were not so strong though and settled into the chase.
That move by Haug was put in perspective just one lap into the seven lap 40km bike ride when the leaders came through over a minute clear of the chasers, a gap that would only get bigger as each lap ticked by, had the German not bridged early her race would surely have been over.
Little changed throughout the bike leg and as they headed out on the run it was Haug quickest through transition with the lead group of eight establishing a margin of over 3 and a half minutes over the chase group. It was an impressive ride from the leaders in the hot and windy conditions, the offshore breeze welcomed by the spectators but not the athletes.
The race was over however for Sarah Dueble (AUS), Kathy Rakel (USA) and Mikayla Nielsen (NZL), their brave effort to stay in front of the lead group was to no avail as they were passed on the final lap of the bike and under ITU rules, their day was over.
Eight quickly became four on the run, with Haug, Stimpson, Moffatt and Hewitt showing their class. First to drop was Hewitt, leaving three to fight out the medals with 5km to race. Despite the support of the home fans it was Moffatt who was the next to find the pace too quick, and the race was down to two.
Despite her renowned sprint ability, it was Haug who made the move with just over a kilometre to run, kicking clear of Stimpson to win her first ITU World Cup race, confirming her status as one of the sport’s leading lights.
|5.||Natalie Van Coevorden||AUS||02:07:03|