FIRST ACROSS THE LINE BONUS IN CONTINENTAL CUP RACE
Triathlon New Zealand has thrown an interesting ‘curve ball’ into the mix for the upcoming Port Taranaki ITU Continental Cup race at New Plymouth in the form of a ‘winner takes all bonus’ with the elite men and women going head to head.
Triathlon NZ Commercial Director Carl Jackson explains the rationale.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to promote the sport and to encourage our athletes to perform at their best. This is a high profile event for us and has attracted a quality field of the best New Zealanders and a sprinkling of quality internationals from around the world.
“In order to further spice up the action on the day and reward performance, we have decided to include a small bonus for the first across the line, with the women starting at an agreed time ahead of the men.”
While not new to the sport with other events running under a similar format, this is the first time it has been tried here in New Zealand. At $500 the Port Taranaki Bonus will perhaps cover an airfare from or to Australia or an athletes expenses for the weekend. However, Jackson says it is not so much about the money, more the concept.
“Prize money for the men and women is already from a pool of $50,000 so it is not about throwing a whole lot more in the pot, it is more about the interest around seeing who is first across the line.”
Jackson is working closely with Tri NZ National Coach Greg Fraine on just what the time advantage for the women will be. Fraine says there is an element of guess work but plenty of calculated thinking as well.
“We know the course and the history with regards times and can also look at differentials at World Cup races in recent years, with these specific athletes in mind. It is not an exact science but we will do our best and hope to have a sprint finish with the best man or women winning.”
The ITU Continental Cup race is held on Sunday April 5th as the finale to a three day Port Taranaki World Triathlon Festival in New Plymouth. The action begins on Friday April 3rd with the Weetbix Children’s Tryathlon and includes age group and beginner triathlons on Saturday, an ocean swim on the Sunday, the Noel Yarrow Memorial 5km fun run/walk and an elite 3km road race around the CBD.