Race 9 - Wellington
In windy conditions in Wellington today Bevan Docherty and Samantha Warriner have once again shown their class, taking out the National Standard Distance Elite Triathlon Championships.
The race was also an International Triathlon Union Continental Cup race, seeing some international competitors on the start line although none were eligible for the New Zealand Championships.
After finishing fourth at last week's Mooloolaba World Cup race behind Kris Gemmell, Docherty today stamped his authority with a commanding win.
Today was a hard day, the wind obviously made things difficult but generally speaking it was a hard day at the office. At one point Kris (Gemmell) and I got away but the group was cycling really well and we decided there was no point pushing the issue, knowing we would both be the quickest on the run."
Docherty was proved correct with the two Kiwi's quickly putting distance on Switzerland's Sebastien Gacond but just when the large crowd made ready for another famous sprint finish, Docherty made his move on good friend Gemmell, with Gacond trailing the Kiwis in third.
The wind was shocking at times and Kris was running on my shoulder doing his best to conserve his strength. I wasn't having that though and yelled at him to do some work at one point before making a move at around the six kilometre mark. I'm not sure whether it was the yelling or the increase in pace but it worked and he cracked," Docherty said.
World number three Kris Gemmell is getting used to answering questions about racing side by side with good friend but intense rival Docherty and knew it would pan out that way again today.
Early on I could tell Bevan was doing it easy on the bike and when he's doing it easy you know you are in for a tough run. Once again it came down to his strength and my speed and today he won out," Gemmell said.
In the women's race Samantha Warriner showed an amazing turnaround from a disappointing 27th finish at Mooloolaba.
Wow, what a race and what a transformation from last week," Warriner said.
"After last week I made changes to my nutrition and ate more in the days leading up to the race. Clearly it worked, I felt strong all day despite a rough swim and taking a little time to find my rhythm on the bike.
Warriner was almost 45 seconds down on the lead group early in the bike leg but at no time did she panic and took the lead not long into the run.
"The wind made the bike treacherous and at times it was all I could do to hang on, especially around some of the tight turns. But once we closed the gap towards the end of the bike I felt like it was my day. I lead at the first run turnaround and then concentrated on a gradual increase in pace and the lead. I felt really strong."
Warriner was a comfortable winner from Americans Sara McLarty and Jasmine Oeinck, with kiwis Andrew Hewitt and Nicky Samuels rounding out the top five.
Tony Dodds [Wanaka] was the first across the line in the men's under-23 category, followed by William Curtayne [Auckland] in second and Martin van Barneveld [Wellington] in third. In the women's field Sarah Bryant [Dunedin] took out the under-23 title with Anna Hamilton [Auckland] in second and Kelly Bruce [Auckland] in third.
Their top three finishes see each athlete earn a spot at the under-23 World Championships in Hamburg in August.
Pre-race favourite James Elvery finished a disappointing fifth in the under-23 category after getting tangled in a marker buoy on the swim. In a great show of sportsmanship fellow competitor Sam Walker eventually freed Elvery but the Aucklander never made up the lost time.
National Series winners decided
Today's race also saw the overall winners of the inaugural Contact Energy National Triathlon Series decided, with Gisborne's Stephen Sheldrake and Christchurch's Gina Ferguson taking out their respective titles.
33 year-old Sheldrake, who won four out of six starts in the series said it's a great feeling to take out the inaugural series.
"The National Series is doing great things for triathlon and has really lifted the profile of the sport - it was fantastic to see so many supporters on the sidelines today," Sheldrake said.
24 year-old Gina Ferguson said after dominating the National Series with five wins from seven starts she's turning her attention to longer distance racing.
"My next race will be Xterra in two weeks time after which I'll be heading overseas for a couple of longer distance races," Gina said.
"I'm really pleased to have the National Series title."
1. Bevan Docherty (NZL - Taupo) 1.56.46*
2. Kris Gemmell (NZL - Palmerston North) 1.56.54*
3. Sebastien Gacond (SUI) 1.58.47
4. Tony Dodds (NZL - Wanaka) 2.00.41*
5. Clayton Fettell (AUS) 2.00.49
6. Ruedi Wild (SUI) 2.01.07
7. Daniel Torok (HUN) 2.01.30
8. Joshua Amberger (AUS) 2.01.57
9. Adam Carlton (AUS) 2.02.21
10. Hideo Fukui (JPN) 2.02.45
1. Samantha Warriner (NZL - Whangarei) 2.09.06*
2. Sara McLarty (USA) 2.10.28
3. Jasmine Oeinck (USA) 2.10.29
4. Andrea Hewitt (NZL - Christchurch) 2.10.30*
5. Nicky Samuels (NZL - Whangarei) 2.11.39*
6. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 2.12.24
7. Sarah Groff (USA) 2.12.29
8. Taryn McLeod (NZL - Dunedin) 2.15.36*
9. Merja Kiviranta (FIN) 2.16.23
10. Melanie Sexton (AUS) 2.16.24
* New Zealand Championship competitors