Wanaka triathlete Tony Dodds has won the latest German Bundesliga race in Offenburg in an impressive performance as he defeated a strong field including leading ITU triathletes Frederick Belaubre (FRA) and 2008 World Champion Daniel Unger (GER).
The race was over a sprint distance and the pace was on throughout with Dodds feeling like he was in a heavyweight fight with the local Germans in a physical swim and fast paced bike.
“The race started off pretty ruthless and I was getting beaten around a bit by the Germans in the swim,” said Dodds. “I told myself to harden up but those Germans are kind of big and tough themselves and made it tough the whole way.
“I survived okay though and got out in the front pack of ten and we broke away from there. The bike was to say the least a ‘smack-down’. The Russians were punishing everyone and we worked together to stay away from the rest of the field. We got off the bike with about a 30-40 second lead, and by that time I was hurting, but nonetheless the goal was to take the run out hard and see what happens from there, so I did exactly that.”
Dodds stayed with the lead group on the run but when Belaubre went clear he thought his chance of victory might have gone. It was a strong dose of good old fashioned Kiwi grit that saw the 22 year old power to a fantastic win.
“After the first kilometre I was sitting in behind Belaubre but then he dropped me and I thought, ‘well, that was the goal let’s just make it to the finish now. But after 2.5km he was only 20 metres ahead and I started to feel good as I was working well with another German. So I put my foot down and caught him with 1.5km to go. The crowd was insane cheering, especially my Team coach Martin and the supporters that made the drive from DArmstadt.
“With 700m to go I passed Freddy into first and from then I grinded my teeth and let loose gaining a 5 metre lead, then 10. But not realising how far I had to go it was hurting A LOT! I just kept sprinting until the finish line and first it was - a brilliant result for me. I am very pleased, especially for the team, it's an honour to have DSW12 (my team) suit on going first over the finish line.”
Other Kiwis to feature were Wellington’s Martin van Barneveld (10th) and Auckland’s James Elvery (16th) while in the women’s race Kate McIlroy (Wellington) came home in second place just a week after racing strongly at the London round of the ITU World Champs Series.
Dodds now heads to Hungary for the Tizsaujvaros ITU World Cup race next weekend when he will look to pick up valuable ranking points to help gain entry into remaining races on the World Cup and World Champs Series calendar, before his tilt at the World U23 Championships in Budapest in September.
German Triathlon Bundesliga
Offenburg Sprint Race
1 Tony Dodds NZL
2 Fred Belaubre FRA
3 Richard Frommhold GER
10 Martin van Barneveld NZL
16 James Elvery NZL
1 Anne Haug GER
2 Kate McIlroy NZL
3 Lena Brunkhorst GER