The USA’s Katie Hursey has proved again she will be a major contender in the 2014 triathlon season in New Zealand on Sunday, collecting her third World Cup title over an impressive field in New Plymouth.
After Spain’s Caroline Routier led the field over the sprint distance 750m swim, Hursey was one of 15 who quickly gathered on the front of the bike. At the end of the first lap that group was trimmed to 13, including Routier, Hursey, Helen Jenkins, Jodie Stimpson, Sarah Groff, Andrea Hewitt, Kate McIlroy, Kirsten Sweetland,Paula Findlay, Yuka Sato, Alice Betto, Pamela Oliveira and Nicky Samuels.
Led by McIlroy riding hard off the front that pack continued to put time on the first chase. In the short four-lap 20km course that grew to just over 40 seconds on the rest of the field leaving T2. From there Hursey continued with the strong run form she showed in Mooloolaba last weekend, where she was beaten only by compatriotGwen Jorgensen, and immediately rocketed to the front.
Hursey then stayed there all the way to the finishing tape, which she broke in a time of 57 minutes and 27 seconds. It was the rising star’s third ITU World Cup win, from a career that currently spans just 12 races, and her second consecutive podium in 2014. In just her second season, Hursey is already hitting her goals.
“Last year was my first draft legal race, I did San Diego the WTS race as my third one, and all these girls were the ones I looked up too that I wanted to be like,” Hursey said. “For me to be mixing it in with them now that’s one of the goals that I had and only in the second year. So I’m really excited about that.”
Hursey said her race plan played out to perfection in New Plymouth, a solid swim and bike allowing her to use her killer run kick to full advantage.
“It was great, it’s a beautiful place, it started off well on the swim and I was happy to get on the first bike group from the start and once we were there it was cool watching the numbers go up to the next group so I knew that if I stayed relaxed on the bike – and it felt really good today – that I could run well,” Hursey said. “I got off and I tried to keep a steady pace and it worked. It worked out today, it was a good day.”
Behind Hursey the battle for medals came down to a finishing line sprint between Andrea Hewitt and Jodie Stimpson. Riding off the crowd, Hewitt just outlasted last year’s World Triathlon Series silver medallist to claim the New Plymouth silver, while Stimpson claimed bronze.
Hewitt was happy to have improved from her season-opening race in Mooloolaba, and particularly rediscover her podium form.
“That was a huge step up from last week,” said Hewitt. “I think it was good to have the hit out in Australia because here was just so hard but it was all good, second place is great. Last year Jodie was stronger than me and was on the podium a lot last year so for me to be running comfortably with her and out sprint her it is a nice feeling.”
It was Stimpson’s first race in 2014 and the overall 2013 series silver medallist said she was thrilled with her start.
“I’m pretty chuffed to be honest, I was not feeling the best going into it so to pull out that race up against that field I’m pretty happy with that as the first race of the year,” Stimpson said.
Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins made a strong return in her first ITU race since the London 2012 Olympic Games, finishing fourth.