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The Contact Tri Series continued in the blistering heat of Taupo today, with close to 700 athletes taking part in the National Sprint Triathlon Championships and the Contact 3:9:3 beginners event.
The Kinloch event marked the first appearance in 2009 of world number 2 Bevan Docherty, racing in his home town 3 weeks prior to getting married. The Beijing bronze medalist was all class as he gapped a quality field of aspiring younger New Zealand triathletes to win by 40 seconds from Wanaka’s Tony Dodds.
“I felt pretty good out there today to be honest. I’ve just come off a big week but decided to make it hard on the bike and show some of the younger guys what it is all about. There has been a little friendly trash talk going on face book leading up to this race so this might lead to less of that and more training for these guys.
“I’m in good shape and getting through some good training. It is a big year for me with a wedding in a few weeks and the new World Series this year so there’s plenty to keep me busy.
“It’s nice to win too; I think this is my first win in over a year so that is a good feeling as well. And Taupo is great, I just wish I could still live here but other commitments keep me away in Auckland most of the time, but this is without doubt still home for me.”
Dodds was second across the line and first in the elite U23 category with Clark Ellice (New Plymouth) following up last years win with a third place.
If Docherty was dominant, Nicky Samuels was imperious as she continued her unbeaten season in the Contact Tri Series. The Wanaka athlete once again showed her strength on the bike, riding away from a strong field on the second of three laps, leaving Rebecca Spence (Auckland), Liz May (Luxembourg) and Debbie Tanner (Auckland) in her wake.
Samuels was delighted with yet another win, eventually finishing 1 minute 16 seconds clear of world number 13 May with Spence in third.
“I felt great out there today and feeling a little better with every race and every week of training. That was a strong field today with Debbie, Liz and Rebecca, so to ride away on the second lap gives me some real confidence at this early stage of the season.”
Unlike her other races this season though, Samuels did have company for the early part of the ride at least.
“I sat back a little on the first lap of the bike to see if the others were keen to take it out and do some work but they didn’t appear keen so I went to the front and managed to ride away again.
“It is just as well today was a sprint distance though, Timaru was tough in the heat and today was just as hot but thankfully the race was somewhat shorter.”
Earlier in the day saw the Contact Trophy age group race take place. With national sprint titles on the line the racing was intense under the hot Taupo sun. And it was a familiar athlete recovering from illness and a name more used to Ironman racing than sprinting who took out the honours.
Tristan Calwell won the men’s race in a tick over one hour in his first serious hit out since recovering from glandular fever last year. He was delighted to be back in the winners circle.
“It feels great to be back and getting close to 100% after some time away. That was hot out there though, I am about to head back to the lake I think. Booking a place at the Gold Coast is nice, I’ll race some more this summer and decide whether I will head over in September.”
In the women’s race Jo Lawn took the chance to tune up for Bonita Ironman NZ in March with a race somewhat shorter than she is used to.
“Wow, that feels great but it was quicker than I am used to for sure. It was a great hit out on some of the roads and conditions that we will face in a few weeks so for that alone this was good but it was also a lot of fun. I don’t get many opportunities to race in this series so today was nice.”
Contact Tri Series
Tri NZ National Sprint Distance Championship
750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run
1 Bevan Docherty Taupo 1:01:00
2 Tony Dodds Wanaka 1:01:40
3 Clark Ellice New Plymouth 1:01:51
4 Graham O’Grady Hamilton 1:02:16
5 Martin van Barneveld Wgtn 1:02:53
U23 Elite Men
1 Tony Dodds Wanaka 1:01:40
2 Ben Christophers Upper Hutt 1:04:23
3 William Curtayne Auckland 1:05:02
1 Nicky Samuels Wanaka 1:12:53
2 Liz May Luxembourg 1:14:09
3 Rebecca Spence Auckland 1:14:50
4 Debbie Tanner Auckland 1:16:05
5 Jacquie Seebold Auckland 1:16:22