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Contrasting seasons ahead for top kiwi triathletes

Contrasting seasons ahead for top kiwi triathletes

If it had not been for a poor swim in the Triathlon World Championship Series finale in Budapest Andrea Hewitt had an incredibly consistent season. Leading into the final race of the series with double points on the line Hewitt sat 2nd in the World rankings and if she finished ahead of eventual series winner Emma Moffat the title would have been hers. However an uncharacteristic weak swim left her floundering in the 2nd bunch of athletes with all hopes lost in the first 20 minutes of racing. Outside of the finale Hewitt enjoyed finishing in the top 6 in all other World Championship series races which included 2nd in Sydney and 3rd in Kitzbuehel. Add to that the Oceania Championship title along with wins in the French Grand Prix and it was a season to remember. Her focus will now be firmly on the lead into the London Olympics where a medal is a realistic target.

With the busy international season to prepare for, races in her home town of Christchurch have been few and far between. This weekends House of Travel Triathlon Festival will be a rare opportunity to compete on home soil "It's great to have a local race, I couldn't surpass this chance to race at home. It's unusual for me but a nice change to race at this time of the year. I am back into training for next season which is a big year with Olympic qualification in August"

Whilst Hewitt is focused more on trying to win a medal in London, Wanaka’s Nicky Samuels will be in a tight tussle for the other places on New Zealand’s Olympic team. Having won the National Tri Series the last 3 years running Samuels knows how to win races. She has also tasted plenty of glory on the international stage with a career best 3rd place on the World Cup series in 2007 and a 9th at this years world sprint championships in Lausanne. With either two or three spots available to New Zealand’s female athletes for the London Olympics, Samuels will be battling hard against the likes of Hewitt, Debbie Tanner and Kate McIlroy. “The 2011 season is a very important one for me as I must compete against fellow New Zealand’s for my ticket to the Olympics. I kick started my 2011 training season racing in Noosa, since then I have had 6 weeks of base training. This race will be a good test of where I am currently at, a short fast hit out, with some good competition- I look forward to it”.

Known as one of the strongest bike riders on the international circuit Samuel’s best hope for victory this Sunday will be if she can break clear of the field on the bike leg – something she has done with success at other races.

Battling the two top seeds will be national long distance representative Julia Grant along with Jaye Atkin and Laura wood who are both campaigning for the national under 19 team. Add to this Southlands Penny Hayes who won her age division at this year’s world championships and the race for 3rd could be as enthralling as the race for the win.

The House of Travel Triathlon Festival will be held this Sunday 19th December at Pegasus (just north of Christchurch) with the first race starting at 8:30am and the Elite cup at 11:30am. The festival offers five races catering for different abilities: “The UVEX Pegasus Classic” for your everyday triathlete. “The Fendalton Eye Clinic Team Challenge” – ideal for corporate teams and friends alike, to get together for a pre Christmas hit out. “The John Bull Cycles Kids Challenge” – for those under 14 years. “The Newstalk ZB Try a Tri” – perfectly pitched to the first timer. And the final event of the festival will be the “Sports Doctors Elite Cup” – a high action draft legal race.


© Scoop Media

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