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TRIATHLON

race winner Aurelien Lebrun race winner Aurelien Lebrun CREDIT: Bruce Wilson

Frenchman upsets all to win at new triathlon format

Monday 12 December 2011, 12:46PM
By Triathlon Festival
302 views


French triathlete Aurelien Lebrun stole the show at the Christchurch Casino Elite Cup as part of the House of Travel Triathlon Festival yesterday at Pegasus, just outside Christchurch. Not only did the Frenchman beat all the men’s hopes, in doing so he caught leading female Nicky Samuels in the dying stages of the run to take line honours in the handicap race.


In a format not seen in New Zealand before, the elite athletes were required to complete two super sprint triathlons back to back which entailed diving back into a second swim straight after completing the first run. “After wearing a wetsuit in the first swim you feel a lot heavier in the water when you go without” commented women’s winner Samuels. The total distances were twice through a 350m swim, 10km bike and a 2.5km run. To spice it up further the women were given a five minute head start with the first athlete across the line taking home $500 in addition to the $1000 for first male and female elites.


In the women’s race a group emerged from the swim together but race favourite Nicky Samuels quickly pulled ahead with Dutch international Sarissa De Vries on the opening bike leg. De Vries got the better of Samuels in the bike to run transition but mid way through the run Samuels took the lead and forged ahead. For the remainder of the race it would be a battle with Samuels against the chasing pack of men.

Meanwhile the opening swim and bike for the men saw six men establish themselves as a pack, including race favourites James Elvery and Tom Davison. As the group hit the opening run a war of attrition began with Rotorua’s Sam Osbourne putting the hammer down straight away which resulted in the group completely fragmenting. The only one to stay close was Lebrun. After exiting the second swim in close contact, the pair set about working together only for Osborne to crash on a tight bend, losing contact. At the conclusion of the second bike Lebrun held a 30 second lead over the chasing group of Elvery, Davison, Dylan McNiece and Osbourne, who had remounted his bike. The race now became a one on one battle of the sexes between Lebrun and Samuels.


The hard riding Samuels started the final 2.5km run with a lead of around one minute over Lebrun “I knew I needed to put the hammer down on the second bike leg to have any chance against the guys. I probably should have pushed harder on the first bike leg as well” said Samuels. It was going to require a very fast run from Lebrun. With no other men in serious contention, the athlete all the way from Montpellier was literally sprinting out of transition and quickly began eating into Samuels’ lead. “I saw Nicky at the start of the run and was told the gap but I also was looking behind as well”. Finally, around 700 metres from the finish Lebrun made the catch and went on to win in style. Samuels held on for second overall. A minute and a half back from Samuels in the women’s race saw the Dutch pair of De Vries and training partner Maaike Caelers taking second and third with NZ Under 23 representative Rebecca Kingsford in 4th and World Under 19 champion Mikayla Nielsen rounding out the top five. The men’s placings saw Sam Osbourne recover from his crash and finish impressively in 2nd 34 seconds behind, Auckland’s Elvery hung on for 3rd with Christchurch’s Davison and McNiece in 4th and 5th respectively.


Race director John Newsom commended the elite athletes. “Conditions were not great out there with a strong, cool wind but the athletes took it in their stride. The handicap system worked almost perfectly. If I had made it five and a half minutes it would have likely been a sprint finish but for the first time trying this format I’m very happy with how it worked out”.


Earlier in the day hundreds of athletes took part in a variety of events including an age group race, team event, Try a Tri, kids challenge and the terra firma (run/bike/run)

Christchurch Casino Elite Cup 2 x (250m Swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run)
ELITE MEN
1. Aurelien Lebrun FRANCE 1:01:07
2. Sam Osbourne ROTORUA 1:01:41
3. James Elvery AUCKALND 1:02:08
4. Tom Davison CHCH 1:02:30
5. Dylan McNeice CHCH 1:02:38

ELITE WOMEN

1. Nicky Samuels WANAKA 1:06:29
2. Sarissa de Vries HOLAND 1:08:00
3. Maaike Caelers HOLAND 1:08:47
4. rebecca kingsford TIRAU 1:09:41
5. Mikayla Nielsen HAMILTON 1:10:37


Sport Doctors Pegasus Classic (500m Swim / 15km bike / 5km run)

1 ROB LORD 00:53:33
2 MATT MACE 00:54:02
3 NATHAN PETERSON 00:54:23

1 KIRI ATKIN 00:59:42
2 EMMA MEYER 01:00:13
3 LAURENCE GAY 01:00:58


John Bull Cycles Try a Tri (150m Swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run)

1 ANTHONY LINEHAM 00:38:05
2 TIMOTHY LEWIS-MORRIS 00:38:41
3 TOM BERRY 00:38:52

1 SABINE SCHWEITZER 00:39:06
2 GEMMA WOODS 00:39:31
3 EMILY BELL 00:41:03


SBS Bank Kids Tri Challenge

Boys 9-11 Years (150m Swim / 5km bike / 2.5km run)
1 SEAN SWANSON 00:27:52
2 LORNA PAIRMAN 00:28:31
3 NATHAN COCHRANE 00:29:39

Girls 9-11 Years (150m Swim / 5km bike / 2.5km run)
1 LORNA PAIRMAN 00:28:31
2 EDEN BASTIAANSE 00:29:43
3 BAYLEY ANDERSON 00:31:23

Boys 12-13 years (150m Swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run)
1 ANGUS BAILEY 00:33:21
2 LATHAM FAIRHALL 00:34:17
3 HUGO JONES 00:34:28
4 HENRY IDIENS

Girls 12-13 years (150m Swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run)
1 ELLA HARRIS 00:35:56
2 ARLIA SCHURR 00:36:42
3 KATE SMITH 00:37:18


Sport Canterbury Terra Firma (2.5km Run / 15km Bike / 5km Run)
1 SIMON RALPH 00:55:31
2 PAUL CROSSLEY 00:57:03
3 MATTHEW DICKINSON 01:00:02

1 KARYN CARSON 01:03:02
2 SARAH HEATH 01:06:46
3 JANE PAIRMAN 01:09:15


Fendalton Eye Clinic Team Challenge (500m Swim / 15km bike / 5km run)

1 TEAM TRICERATOPS 00:56:47 Male
2 TEAM RUN DMG 01:00:04 Male
3 TEAM NWA 01:01:41 Male

1 TEAM ATKINS PUSHBIKES 00:58:20 Mixed
2 TEAM DELOITTE DYNAMITE 01:01:34 Mixed
3 TEAM HOUSE OF TRAVEL SHIRLEY 01:02:29 Mixed

1 Ninja school dropouts 1:07:21 Female
2 Blink And Youll Miss Us 1:07:27 Female
3 ECan Programme Wonks 1:13:49 Female


Full results can be found via http://www.triathlonfestival.co.nz/