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Samuels racing at Kinloch CREDIT: Mike Heydon
Dodds at the finish line CREDIT: Mike Heydon
It was a day of celebration for Wanaka athletes as Taupo turned on a stunning day for the latest round of the Contact Tri Series at Kinloch with victory going to southerners Nicky Samuels and Tony Dodds.
Racing doubled as the National Sprint Distance Championships across age groups, U23 and elite categories, with triathletes from all over New Zealand trying to qualify for the World Championships in Hungary later this year.
It was a break through victory for Dodds as the 23 year old won a Contact Series race for the first time and with it the national sprint distance elite title. The runner up from Wanaka last month was one of a pack of 11 who stayed clear on the bike and the only one who could stay close to Ryan Sissons who surged early on the run, only to fade allowing Dodds, Clark Ellice (New Plymouth) and Ben Pattle (Auckland) past on the second lap.
“Some of the bike didn’t feel great at all and I wasn’t sure how I was going to run,” said an elated Dodds.
“When Ryan went quick early I honestly didn’t think I would hold on. I can’t surge like that so had to hold back and build gradually into it, at that point it was more about tactics and resisting the urge to go with Ryan.
“I haven’t won a Contact race before, I’ve always been second so to win and grab a national title feels awesome, this is a big thing for me, it isn’t a peak for a lot of the guys but it is great to get the win.”
When asked about his preparation given he had suffered from a calf strain in the lead up, Dodds said he might have found the secret formula.
“Aqua jogging, I think that might be the answer as that is all I have done for a week is jog in the pool.”
The victory gives Dodds an edge in the early season racing to lay claim to the third best triathlete in the country behind Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmell, both of whom will line up at Takapuna in two weeks time alongside the best of the rest.
The women’s race quickly turned into a procession as Nicky Samuels put on a clinic for the largely young field, clearing out from the moment she got on the bike to win by almost 3 minutes from U23 Champion Teresa Adam (Auckland) and U19 winner Maddy Brunton (Waikato), with Janine Simpson (Tauranga) and Amy Wilkinson (Australia) rounding out the elite podium.
Samuels didn’t taper for the event but showed the benefit of her current heavy training workload nonetheless.
“I felt the legs in the bike and the run, especially the quads so I know I have been doing some miles but yeah, that felt great. To lead the swim out was great as I haven’t been doing much on the swim so I was surprised to have such a good swim and was stoked to lead out of the water.
“The run is tracking well though, the last few weeks have been important and I start a new training block for the next two weeks so once I get through that I’ll have some training in the bank for the rest of the year.”
Earlier in the day Ironman legends Cameron Brown and Jo Lawn tuned up for Bonita Ironman next month with impressive wins in the Erin Baker Trophy race over the standard distance of 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.
Brown was pleased with a good workout.
“That was a little faster than I am used to but the perfect rehearsal at this stage of my preparation. The calf muscle felt great throughout and the bike really tested the legs, the course and the conditions were superb.”
Lawn like Brown was looking for a hard hit out, albeit she was pushed a little more than she would have liked.
“I had to go from the start of the run knowing that Rebecca Kingsford was chasing hard. I only made the decision on Friday to race here but I am pleased I did, it was a great day, lovely course and good result with the big day just a month ahead.”
Contact Tri Series
National Sprint Championship
1 Tony Dodds Wanaka 56:59
2 Clark Ellice New Plymouth 57:11
3 Ben Pattle Auckland 57:18
1 Nicky Samuels Wanaka 1:04:29
2 Janine Simpson Tauranga 1:09:37
3 Amy Wilkinson Australia 1:10:20
1 Tom Davison Christchurch 58:33
2 William Prior Wellington 59:42
3 Harrison Dean Christchurch 1:00:27
1 Teresa Adam Auckland 1:07:14
2 Rebecca Grant Dunedin TBC
Full results will be posted to www.triathlon.org.nz later today.