With the start of the international triathlon season now underway the weekend was a busy one. Aileen Reid and Bryan Keane were first up in the opening leg of the ITU World Triathlon Series on Saturday morning.
The men’s race started first under sunny skies in Auckland, New Zealand with Cork man Bryan Keane among the 33 starters.
One of the sports top swimmers, Richard Varga pushed the pace over the 1500m swim exiting the water in the lead. The pack was strung out behind with gaps appearing over the latter part of the swim and into T1. Keane was 41 seconds off the pace coming into T1 and found himself in a small group on the bike which included the likes of Alexander Bryukhankov.
Race favourite Javier Gomez, sitting in the lead group was not letting up and helped to drive the bunch on making Keane’s task all the more difficult.
The outlook looked a little brighter for Keane as his group began to close in and eventually made contact with about 10km of the bike remaining. Shortly after, disaster struck for the Irishman as he was knocked from his bike by athletes behind and beside him.
Fortunately Keane was not injured and attempted to get back in the race but mechanical issues and bad luck robbed him of valuable ranking points and resulted in a DNF.
Commenting after the race Keane said “I’m so annoyed with the crash today.”
“I was hit from behind as we made contact with the leaders and it bent my skewer so I was unable to race on. It was really a huge opportunity lost.”
Keane will now refocus and look to capitalise on his good form in the Ishagiki World Cup on Sunday 14th.
Following the men’s race Ireland were represented by Aileen Reid who was looking to post a solid World Series opening result after suffering from a knee injury over the past number of weeks.
Already a competent swimmer, Reid has stepped it up another level this season and showed it once again in Auckland as she exited the water in 3rd position. Behind, the women’s field was strung out but came together during the technical and hilly 40km bike course. Morrison was to the fore, pushing the pace and staying out of trouble.
Reid’s training partner Anne Haug was the strongest over the final 10km and went on to win in a time of 2:08:20. Reid produced a solid run to finish just outside the top 10 in 12th place.
Reid later commented. “This is probably one of my best races in the World Triathlon Series regardless of the result. My run fitness is coming. I’m off to Sedona, USA now to prepare for San Diego and Yokohama World Series races.”
In junior action, Westport teenage Con Doherty produced another podium worthy performance on Sunday at the Quarteira European Cup in Portugal.
Doherty exited the 750m swim in 9mins 20secs and a minute off the leader, Gundersen of Norway. A quick T1 and some hard work on the bike brought Doherty back to the head of the 50 strong field. Through the 2nd transition Doherty was to the fore and exited onto the 5km run in the lead.
Montoya of France and Van Egdom of the Netherlands had too much pace but Doherty’s 16min 12sec clocking was good enough for 3rd place in a field containing many of the top juniors in the world.
In the junior women’s race Emma Sharkey got off to a flying start with a world class swim. She was just 11 seconds off the lead, exiting the water in 10min 19secs. Sharkey capitalised on her opening leg working in the lead pack during the 20km bike leg.
During the final 5km Sharkey didn’t have the pace to stick with the leaders but can be pleased with her 12th place finish.
The weekend also saw a field of 230 battle it out at the National Duathlon Championships held in Ashford, Co. Wicklow on Saturday afternoon. The race attracted the most competitive field ever seen and consisted of an opening 10km run followed by 40km on the bike and a further 5km run.
Cathal O’Donovan took control of the race after 5km when he broke away from the leading group of six to cover the opening 10km in 31mins 35seconds. He didn’t look back after his initial break and went on to win in a time of 1hr 48min 02secs. Former Junior International XC runner Colm Turner clocked 15min 37secs for the final run which allowed him overall 2011 and 2012 winner Paul Carroll who had to settle for bronze this time around.
Former professional cyclist Siobhan Horgan surprised some with her victory over the weekend. Horgan who retired from full time cycling 6 months ago unsurprisingly clocked the fastest bike split but was also very competitive during the run elements.
Anna Crooks from Galway was 2nd just 2 minutes back followed by Dubliner Jen Duffy in 3rd.