New Plymouth, New Zealand
Earlier in the day, the elite women tackled the New Plymouth course. Olympic hopeful Emma Moffatt was keen to stake her claim to an Olympic spot. She finished as the third Aussie in Mooloolaba and won’t be racing in Ishigaki next weekend so she knew this was her final chance to impress Australian Olympic selectors. But a strong Kiwi team that included Samantha Warriner, Andrea Hewitt and Nicky Samuels was equally as eager to win on home soil.
A large group of women with all the pre-race favorites exited the water closely bunched together. They rode in the lead pack in the 40-kilometer bike leg with a number of others including Swede Lisa Norden and Brit Andrea Whitcombe. In the final lap, Samuels, who was named an alternate to the New Zealand Olympic team, broke away from the field and rode into T2 solo. As Samuels headed out onto the 10-kilometer run course, she held a 35-second lead over chase pack which included Moffatt, Warriner, Norden, Felicity Abram, Liz Blatchford and Hewitt.
But Samuels wasn’t able to hold the lead in the run and within the first three kilometers, she was reeled in by strong runners Moffatt, Abram and Norden. The three ran together for most of the run until Moffatt blew away with her strong finishing kick, crossing the line to take her second career world cup title. The victory adds to an already impressive 2008 season in which she has collected wins at the Oceania championships and at the Gold Coast. She has to be considered the front runner for selection to the Australian Olympic team, joining three-time world champion Emma Snowsill.
“I had a bit of pressure on myself for today to make sure I performed since and it was the last opportunity to do this, so I had to see what I could do and I guess I did it,” said Moffatt.
One week after making triathlon history as the first Swedish athlete to medal at a world cup, Lisa Norden has done it again, this time taking silver. She also takes over the number one ranking in the world after just two world cup races. It’s not only a breakthrough for Norden but also for the Team BG Elite Athlete Development Programme. Moffatt’s teammate and fellow Aussie Olympic hopeful Felicity Abram took the bronze for her first career world cup podium finish.
Swiss Daniela Ryf had the best world cup performance of her career finishing in fourth while Liz Blatchford of Great Britain rounded out the top five. Kiwis placed three in the top ten while young Aussie Alee Sharp nailed down her second straight world cup top ten.
Olympic champion Kate Allen had a disappointing start to her season as she crashed on the fourth lap of the bike with American Mary Beth Ellis and Evgeniya Matveeva. All three failed to finish.
2008 New Plymouth BG Triathlon World Cup
Elite Women – Official Results
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run
Gold – Emma Moffatt (AUS) 2:01:01
Silver – Lisa Norden (SWE) 2:01:07
Bronze – Felicity Abram (AUS) 2:01:16
4 – Daniela Ryf (SUI) 2:01:48
5 - Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:01:48
6 - Andrea Whitcombe (GBR) 2:01:59
7 – Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:02:10
8 – Samantha Warriner (NZL) 2:02:42
9 – Alee Sharp (AUS) 2:02:51
10 – Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:03:02
Picture by Alex Broadway/SWpix.com