There was fierce competition at the opening race of the Rio 2016 Olympic Qualification period in Yokohama, Japan this morning.
Aileen Reid got off to a super start in the 3rd round of the World Triathlon Series as she came out of the water in a brilliant 5thposition, ideally placed for the transition onto the bike. The field behind were still in contention though and by the end of the 40km bike there were some 40 athletes in the leading pack.
Reid narrowly avoided disaster as training mate and top ranked triathlete Jodie Stimpson came down on the congested blue carpet as she attempted to run though the transition area pushing her bike at speed. Stimpson suffered a nasty gash to her foot which required stitches after the race.
Reid was positioned directly behind and avoided the incident thanks only to quick wits and a speedy side step.
American Gwen Jorgenson, who has missed the lead pack on the last two occasions, found herself at the front of affairs and didn’t look back as she clocked the fastest run of the day in 33:43 to claim her first World Series win of the season.
Aileen Reid put together a very solid performance to come home in 22nd place, her fitness building nicely towards in the Commonwealth Games in July and World Series Grand Final in August.
In the men’s race there were mixed fortunes for the Irish athletes. Ben Shaw put in a strong 1500m swim as he exited the water 30 seconds off the leader Schoeman of South Africa. Conor Murphy and World Series debutant Russell White came out from the swim a further 20 seconds back.
After a fractured opening bike lap, Shaw made his way to the front of the group and was prominent throughout the 40km as he did his share of the pace setting along with Davison, the Brownlee brothers and Gomez.
Coming off the bike the supreme runners of the sport pulled ahead with Javier Gomez clocking 29:32 for 10km, out sprinting Mario Mola for the win. Richard Murray claimed the final spot on the podium with Alistair and Jonny Brownlee struggling in 4thand 5th.
Ben Shaw’s running has been improving all the time and he clocked 32:39 to finish in 22nd place. World Series debutant Russell White have a solid race as she swam, biked and ran well to come home in 48th. Conor Murphy had a disappointing race as he DNF’ed during the bike leg.