Tony Dodds and Nicky Samuels proved too strong for international fields at the Oceania Super Sprint Cup at Pegasus today in the latest round of the .kiwi Tri Series, Dodds turning the tables in a sprint finish over great rival Ryan Sissons while Samuels backed up from her win at Takapuna a fortnight ago.
With racing in heats and final over a super sprint format, athletes had to come to terms with tactics as well as the fast paced racing on a cold and blustery day. And with a strong international representation in both men’s and women’s fields the Kiwis were never going to have it all their own way.
Nicky Samuels and Sophie Corbidge had won the previous .kiwi Tri Series races, with Corbidge taking out the Oceania Sprint Championships in Kinloch last weekend. A group of five formed on the exit from the water, including Samuels, Kiwi’s Rebecca Clarke and Jaimee Leader, and Dutch stars Maaike Caelers and Sarissa de Vries. Samuels had set her stall out at Takapuna with a solo bike leg, and was at it again, breaking away after half a lap and taking a 16 second lead to the bell.
Tri NZ HP Squad colleagues Corbidge, Maddie Dillon and Elise Salt along with Rebecca Kingsford and Japan’s Hideko Kikuchi were a further 20 seconds back. Samuels held her advantage and there was no catching her over the fast 2.4 km run, followed home by Caelers (second also at the ITU Auckland WTS in 2013), with Corbidge running through to complete the podium.
Samuels was pleased with another solid performance.
“My plan was to see how the group formed on the bike to see if it was worth attacking. I came here to find out what needs work, and my run is not quite there yet, but I knew I could run strong. The super-sprint is an exciting format, and while it was a shame we didn’t have the full semi-finals, it is good to do something different”.
Having safely navigated their semi-finals – with wins for Mike Phillips (Christchurch) and Tony Dodds, the 30-strong men’s final was stacked, with representatives from eleven countries. Coming to the race off two successive .kiwi Tri Series wins, Ryan Sissons perhaps started as favourite, but knew he would not have it his own way as Tri NZ HP Squad colleague Tony Dodds emerged from the water with a good 6 seconds lead over American Tommy Zaferes.
Swept along by the power of Tom Davison (Christchurch) on the bike, Sissons soon joined a lead group including New Zealanders, the American, Australians and French, and indeed midway through lap 2 it was Davison and Sissons who broke away.
The pair took a 12 second advantage in to T2, before Dodds exploded out of transition to close on Sissons. For the second week in a row, it came down to a sprint for the training partners, with Dodds this time shading it in a photo finish. Martin van Barneveld ran strongly to make a clean sweep of the podium for New Zealand.
In victory, Dodds looked forward to ‘round three’ of his head-to-head with Sissons, at the Port Taranaki ITU World Cup Sprint in March.
“The semi-final today took more toll than I’d imagined going out for the final, and I decided to sit in the bunch. I burnt some matches closing the gap early in the run, and was determined in the sprint to reverse the 1-2 from Kinloch. The two-race format is good, as it makes you think about racing smart.”
Next stop for the .kiwi Tri Series is in Wellington on 8 March, also featuring the National Junior (U19) Championships. The High Performance Squad now returns to training in preparation for the Oceania Championships in Devonport (Australia) on 1 March, the Port Taranaki ITU World Cup Sprint on 23 March, and the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland ITU World Triathlon Series and Commonwealth Games selection races on 6 April.
Oceania Super Sprint Cup
.kiwi Tri Series, Pegasus
1 Tony Dodds Wanaka, NZL 25:47
2 Ryan Sissons Auckland, NZL 25:47
3 Martin van Barneveld Wgtn, NZL 25:58
4 Jesse Featonby Australia 25:58
5 Ron Darmon Israel 26:04
Full results CLICK HERE
1 Nicky Samuels Wanaka, NZL 29:04
2 Maaike Caelers Netherlands 29:24
3 Sophie Corbidge Auckland, NZL 30:04
4 Fiona Crombie Chch, NZL 30:12
5 Jaimee Leader P Nth, NZL 30:16
Full results CLICK HERE