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No Polish delight for Tyler Smith

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Chasing hard: Tyler Smith attempts to close the gap to the race leaders after crashing on the opening lap of the bike at the Europe Triathlon Cup Rzeszow in Poland. The Bermudian ultimately had to settle for an eighteenth-place finish (Photograph supplied)
Chasing hard: Tyler Smith attempts to close the gap to the race leaders after crashing on the opening lap of the bike at the Europe Triathlon Cup Rzeszow in Poland. The Bermudian ultimately had to settle for an eighteenth-place finish (Photograph supplied)

Tyler Smith was left far from satisfied with his eighteenth-place finish at the Europe Triathlon Cup Rzeszow in Poland.

Competing among the Elite Men’s field, Smith got off to an encouraging start, exiting the water in eighth place in 9min 12sec. However, his challenge for the podium places was hampered when he suffered a crash on the bike discipline, eventually finishing the course in 30:21 and losing six places in the process heading into the run.

Despite his best efforts to chase down the leading pack, the exertions to make up for lost time after the crash ultimately took their toll as he clocked 16:15 on the run for an overall elapsed time of 56:54.

Leon Pauger claimed victory in 55:30, pipping Jack Willis, who crossed the line in 55:37, with Johannes Vogel completing the podium places in 55:49.

“I’m not over the moon with my performance,” Smith said. “This was a race that I had been targeting at least a top-five finish and ideally a podium place because I know I’m capable of doing that at this level.

“It was a bit of a shame because the race didn’t go to plan, particularly crashing on the first lap of the bike. I lost touch with the leading group and tried to chase hard but there was no real organisation among the chase pack to work together and close the gap.

“By the time I got on to the run, I was pretty burnt out from chasing hard on the bike and the gap was just too big to close on the leaders. I just didn’t have enough left in me for the run.”

Despite his disappointment, the 23-year-old is determined to move on quickly, with a greater focus on continuing his full recovery from a niggling foot injury as well as hitting peak form in time for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next month, when he will join compatriots Dame Flora Duffy, Tyler Butterfield and Erica Hawley in the team relay.

“Despite the performance, on a personal level my fitness is still in a good place and my focus is on my form building towards the Commonwealth Games,” he added.

“This was really only my second race for the season and I’ve had to spend a lot of time off running because of a niggling foot injury that has been on and off for a couple of years now.

“I’m finally getting to a place where I can train and compete properly. Perhaps I neglected certain things previously in my rehabilitation, but I’ve learnt a lot and I feel like I can now race consistently.

“The aim at this stage of the season is to get some good solid blocks of racing under my belt ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

“So while this wasn’t a particularly good race as a one-off, I know there is plenty more to come from myself.”

Smith could be handed the opportunity to make amends immediately as he eyes a place on the start line of the World Triathlon Championship Series in Leeds, England, where he is based.

Despite not automatically qualifying for a starting place as one of the top 55 elite male athletes in the rankings, he is hopeful of gaining a spot from the waiting list should one or more competitors opt not to race.

“The great thing about being based in Leeds is that I can I turn up to the race briefing and if anyone has not turned I might be granted a place as one of the next highest-ranked athletes on the waiting list,” added Smith, who is 171st in the World Triathlon rankings and has given up a place at the Europe Triathlon Cup Coimbra in Portugal in hope of gaining entry in Leeds.

“Obviously nothing is guaranteed but it is a gamble I’m willing to take. I was due to race in Portugal but cannot turn down the chance to not only race at home but also in an event that has good Olympic ranking points on offer.

“Even though I don’t know if I’ll be racing, mentally I have to be prepared as if I am because you have to be ready for this level of competition. It’s a complete potluck situation, but hopefully I get the chance to compete because I’m fully prepared to do so.”

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Published June 07, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated June 07, 2022 at 7:49 am)

No Polish delight for Tyler Smith

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