Non Stanford of Great Britain takes U23 world champion title in first race of ITU World Triathlon Grand Final - Ackerman top ten in U23 World Champs
The Under 23 women kicked off the Elite ITU World Triathlon Grand Final racing at Queens Wharf, Auckland this morning. Non Stanford of Great Britain won the race, followed by Sarissa De Vries from the
Netherlands (coached by former New Zealand coach John Hellemans) and Canadian Joanna Brown.
The first New Zealander home was Simone Ackermann in ninth place.
“It was really tough,” said Ackermann. “Where I was at, I did the best I could, the crowd were really supportive, they really kept me going, especially on the run, the run really hurt a lot.”
A vocal crowd turned out in warm, sunny conditions, bright and early to watch the girls dive into the 15 degree harbour water.
The Kiwi girls exited the current affected waters over 45 seconds behind the lead bunch. Ackermann was the first Kiwi out, followed by Sophie Corbidge and Rebecca Kingsford. Ackermann said the gap the lead girls had on the swim “made her nervous”.
The first drama of the race took place on the swim, with Ashlee Bailie of Australia being red carded for allegedly cutting the course. She was allowed to continue racing however and was later reinstated by the officials.
Kingsford had a quick transition out of the water and left T1 with Corbidge who struggled with cold fingers to get her helmet on. Ackermann put in a solid effort on the bike early on to catch the lead pack of twelve girls including Great Britain Olympian Lucy Hall. Ackermann said, “It was really tough catching those girls in the first bunch.”
Meanwhile, Sophie Corbidge in her first year racing under 23, had a “frustrating” time at the front of the second bunch, helped out by Kingsford. But, the Kiwi pair were unable to break away or motivate the pack to catch the first.
Kingsford had the misfortune of dropping her chain on the first lap of the bike and dropped back into the second bunch. The lead group stretched out their lead to over two minutes and Ackermann managed to stay with the bunch into the second transition.
On the run Ackermann was unable to hold onto the leaders, but spurred on by the crowd finished strongly. She said “all things considered she was happy with her race”.
All three Kiwis girls were grateful for the support of the crowd, Kingsford said, “There were so many people that you don't even know just cheering you on, it was awesome.”
2012 ITU World Championship
1 Non Stanford GBR 2:13:06
2 Sarissa De Vries NED 2:13:15
3 Joanna Brown CAN 2:14:12
4 Claudia Rivas MEX 2:14:26
5 Natalie van Covorden AUS 2:14:28
9 Simone Ackermann NZL 2:15:24
20 Sophie Corbidge NZL 2:18:03
26 Rebecca Kingsford NZL 2:20:20
For the full ITU report and results, click here