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The New Zealand men’s Olympic Team have all come through unscathed at the latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Hamburg, Germany this morning (NZ time).
Double Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty was the best of the Kiwis, putting in an impressive effort to finish 11th in a fast and furious inner city sprint.
Olympic reserve Clark Ellice also raced superbly for 14th place while Wanaka’s Tony Dodds finished 22nd.
With just over two weeks until the Olympic Triathlon in London, Docherty was pleased with his speed and strength over a shorter distance than he has become accustomed to.
“I’m happy with that, it’s the first time I’ve raced a sprint event in a few years. I thought I’d get my butt kicked but I was pleasantly surprised,” Docherty said.
“I came out of the water ok and felt really great on the bike. My biking has been going well and today I felt really fresh, and that set me up for a good run. I was a bit soft over the last 500 metres, I could’ve dug in a bit more.”
Fellow London-bound athletes Kris Gemmell and Ryan Sissons finished further down the field, but most importantly came through with no injuries.
Gemmell flew straight into Hamburg having spent the past few weeks training at altitude in Boulder, Colorado. Today’s race was never one Gemmell was aiming to win given the fatigue of travel and coming down from altitude.
“Today was exactly what I was expecting to be honest. Coming straight off a plane from altitude my coach Chris Pilone told me not to really expect anything and just have a good blowout. For me, Hamburg wasn’t my final key session, it was more just a means of coming to Europe and the race fit in well,” Gemmell said.
“I had a decent swim, not the best legs on the bike but was still able to give it a go. On the run I started off a bit tired but found my feet about 3km in, and being a sprint it was pretty much already over by that point. I thought I might be a bit closer but realistically I couldn’t have asked for much more.”
Sissons meanwhile was forced to settle for 40th place after suffering a puncture on the bike that cost him valuable time and energy. The 23-year-old Aucklander was disappointed but happy with his efforts throughout the rest of the race.
“I got a puncture with 5km to go and had to ride with a flat right into transition. I just managed to keep up with the bunch initially, but just couldn’t go around any corners and got dropped,” he said.
“I was well back going into the run which made it hard to stay motivated. I ran pretty well so at least that’s something. At the end of the day the result doesn’t matter and I’m glad something like that happened now rather than at the Olympics.”
Triathlon New Zealand National Coach Greg Fraine believes Hamburg was a good test of the Kiwis and he was pleased to see everyone come through without injury.
“Today was a really good test, there’s nothing like a race to show where your preparation is at. The distance was ideal; a sprint is not overly stressful and means less likelihood of picking up an injury. The extra 5km on the run in an Olympic distance race usually means an extra couple of days recovery, which we couldn’t afford two weeks out from the Olympics,” Fraine said.
“I’m pretty happy with how the race played out. They all had different things they wanted to achieve and I was happy to see Bevan and Clark race so well. Ryan had a puncture that really cost him time and made him have to push harder on the bike just to keep up. It would’ve been nice to see what he could’ve done.”
The race was won by South Africa’s Richard Murray, who out sprinted Spain’s Javier Gomez close to the line. Germany’s Steffen Justus was third.
For more information and full results, click here
ITU World Triathlon Championship
Sprint (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run)
1. Richard Murray (RSA) 51:48
2. Javier Gomez (ESP) 51:53
3. Steffen Justus (GER) 51:59
4. Sven Riederer (SUI) 52:04
5. Maik Petzold (GER) 52:05
11. Bevan Docherty (NZL) 52:11
14. Clark Ellice (NZL) 52:17
22. Tony Dodds (NZL) 52:36
37. Kris Gemmell (NZL) 52:58
40. Ryan Sissons (NZL) 53:06