Erica Hawley finishes 28th in New Zealand World Triathlon Cup
Erica Hawley continued her season by finishing 28th in the first World Triathlon Cup of the year in New Plymouth, New Zealand on Sunday.
Hawley, who finished 45th in the opening race of the World Triathlon Championship Series in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the month, exited the water from the 750-metre swim in 10min 24sec, clocked 37:22 on the four-lap, 20-kilometre cycle and completed the two-lap, 5km run in 17:18 for a combined time of 1hr 6min 19sec, slightly more than three and a half minutes adrift of winner Nicole Van Der Kaay of New Zealand.
Compatriot Ainsley Thorpe sealed second place, crossing the line in 1:03:06, with Norway’s Solveig Lovseth completing the podium places in a time of 1:03:14.
“Another day of chasing. Frustrated with the outcome but happy with parts of the process. I’m feeling strong and I trust that it will all come together soon,” said Hawley, who is on the Asics World Triathlon development team and is aiming to make a breakthrough at the top level as she competes predominantly in the WTCS in an attempt to enhance her Olympic qualification prospects.
Emma Jeffcoat, van der Kaay, Thorpe, Hannah Knighton, Australia’s Sophie Linn and Mexico’s Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal led the athletes out of the Tasman Sea with just seconds separating the next group of athletes as they rushed to remove their wetsuits and make their way on to the bike course.
Rio Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen was out of the water in 37th place and went out on to the course with a large pack of athletes, 33 seconds down on the leading group.
Linn, Jeffcoat, van der Kaay, Knighton, Thorpe, Vidal and Erika Ackerlund were driving the front group ahead of a chase pack 50 metres back, who were working hard to bridge the gap to the leaders.
At this stage, there were 30 women within 18 seconds of each other. Michel and Jorgensen did a lot of work on the first lap to move up closer to the leaders, with Australia’s Jaz Hedgeland a further ten seconds back leading another group.
On the final lap on the bike, the front group applied pressure to the field and the likes of Jorgensen were riding 40 seconds down on the leaders.
By this time, the front group had thinned to 17 athletes, led by Lovseth and Van der Kaay.
Ackerlund, was the first to dismount alongside Van der Kaay, Thorpe, Brea Roderick, Jeffcoat, Linn and Thornbury as they headed out on the run course.
Strong form coupled with home crowd motivation pushed Van der Kaay to run away with the lead. Thorpe and Roderick were chasing hard, in an attempt to make it a New Zealand podium sweep.
Jorgensen was left with work to do, as she entered the final transition of the day, nearly one minute behind Van der Kaay and Thorpe.
On the final stage of the race, van der Kaay looked exceptional and in control as she dominated the run. She made her way down the street, sidelined with home crowd support, to sprint down the blue carpet and into the finish chute to take the tape and earn her first World Cup gold medal.
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