The New Plymouth World Cup got underway during the early hours of Sunday morning with 2 Irish triathletes flying the flag.
With a stacked field containing 6 of the world’s top 10 men it was always going to be a tough race and so it proved as the opening 750 meter swim was led out by American, Tommy Zaferes in 8:37.
Scrambling on his toes was the rest of the field as they fought for clear water and scrambled around turn buoys. Ben Shaw was in the top third out of the water in 9:04 while Conor Murphy followed shortly after in 9:29.
Conor needed a quick transition and a fast opening kilometre on the bike to ensure he was into the main bunch and he did just that.
An aggressive racer, Ben Shaw wasn’t content with sitting in the bunch and launched an attack off the front with Aussie, Dan Wilson for company. With one lap remaining the pair had a 28 seconds advantage and Shaw would clock the fastest bike split of the day.
Onto the run and the Spanish Armada reeled them in and stole the show with Mario Mola claiming back to back World Cup wins. Javier Gomez clocked 14mins 14secs for the 5km run but trailed in 6 after his compatriate. Joao Silva of Portugal rounded out the podium ahead of another Spaniard, Fernando Alarza.
Ben Shaw clocked 15:40 for the run to finish in a very respectable 16th place. He later commented that it was “the best I’ve run off a bike break.”
Conor Murphy started the final leg with the main bunch and clocked 15:49 to finish in 35th position. In an indication of the depth in quality, Murphy was a mere 50 seconds off a top 10 finish, showing that the smallest margins matter at this level.