Press Release – Triathlon New Zealand
Andrea Hewitt will go into the season-ending Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland on Labour Weekend in 4th place on the world rankings and with a shot at winning the world title after finishing 11th at the latest round in Yokohama this morning.
Organisers were forced into a huge amount of work overnight in Yokohama as a typhoon hit the city, forcing a cancellation of the swim familiarisation and concerns that the course may not be ready for racing today. However that hard work was rewarded and the high winds dissipated in time for racing to commence in warm, humid conditions with a non wetsuit swim.
Kate McIlroy (Wellington) and Hewitt (Christchurch) both swam well, exiting the water in close attendance with the leaders and quickly settled into the lead group of 18 on the dead flat bike course, with one minute and eighteen seconds back to the chasers.
With Anne Haug (GER) driving the pace amongst the chasers however and a lack of cohesion in the lead group the field came together to form a large lead group of 28, again with the Kiwis riding comfortably at or near the lead in what was a largely easy paced ride.
Every big name was there though, with current ITU Series leader Erin Densham (AUS), London silver medallist Lisa Norden (SWE), Emma Moffatt (AUS), Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) and a host of other renowned runners sitting and conserving their energy for the 10km.
Once on the run it quickly became evident that the focus for the Kiwis is very much on the Barfoot & Thompson World Triathlon Grand Final on Labour Weekend, with both McIlroy and Hewitt not going with the quick early pace of Norden, Densham, Moffatt, Haug, Maaike Caelers (NED) and Ashleigh Gentle (AUS).
This group stayed together throughout the run, but it was the Swede though who again stamped her mark on 2012, winning in a sprint finish from Haug and Maaike Caelers (NED), the young Dutchwoman picking up consecutive podiums to continue the impressive emergence of the Dutch programme under the guidance of New Zealand coach John Hellemans.
Hewitt and McIlroy ran steadily throughout without ever threatening the leaders, Hewitt finishing 11th and McIlroy 12th as both will now turn their attention to Auckland in three weeks time. With an extra weighting of points for the Auckland Grand Final, a win for Hewitt can still propel her to the top of the season ending rankings, subject to other placings.
Kris Gemmell lines up in the men’s racing which gets underway at 2pm NZT. For full results and further information, visit www.triathlon.org
ITU World Triathlon Series
1 Lisa Norden SWE 1:59:07
2 Anne Haug GER 1:59:08
3 Maaike Caelers NED 1:59:09
11 Andrea Hewitt NZL 2:00:42
12 Kate McIlroy NZL 2:00:49
1 Erin Densham AUS 3,611
2 Lisa Norden SWE 3,581
3 Nicola Spirig SUI 3,264
4 Andrea Hewitt NZL 3,141
11 Kate McIlroy NZL 2,349