Final round of the Contact Tri Series in Wellington

Final round of the Contact Tri Series in Wellington

By OTU Coordinator on 13/03/11 at 8:00 pm

by Andrew Dewhurst...

Palmerston North’s Kris Gemmell went back to back at the ITU Oceania Triathlon Championships in the final round of the Contact Tri Series but unlike last year when pipped by Frenchman Laurent Vidal (ineligible to win the Oceania title), the glory and the finish tape was all Gemmell’s as he won outright from Australian Aaron Royle and Ryan Sissons (NZL), who claimed the U23 title in coming home third overall.

Gemmell was always in control of the race, leading virtually the entire way, making his break for victory well before the finish line and cruising home to the cheers of the large crowd.

"This is important to me, to go back to back as Oceania and New Zealand champion feels great and today and I will be proud to carry both titles with me around the world for the remainder of the year. I do however have a half ironman next week that my coach Chris Pilone has organised for me and I know what a sprint can do to you so I was keen to make the break reasonably early and not have to sprint to the finish line, it’s amazing how 80 metres can take four days to recover from!”

Gemmell praised the work of young Tom Davison (Christchurch) especially as the lead bike group kept the chasers at bay throughout the 40km ride.

"I think there is a bit of evolution this year leading into the Olympics, there are some young kiwis that are swimming really well knowing that if they can then bike hard they can make some of these runners hurt. I tried to motivate the group as much as I could, we had a couple of really strong guys and Tom was one of them, we never took the foot off the gas and kept committed and eventually broke the chasing bunch.”

Royle was the best of the big Australian contingent in second followed home by Sissons who ran superbly but was left once again to rue a poor swim.

"It was a great field, I knew it was going to be make or break in the swim and unfortunately I found myself in the second pack again which is not ideal and makes the race so much harder for me. We tried to catch on the bike but it just didn’t work. It’s always that ten seconds but the lead guys want to get away and the chase pack just didn’t work hard enough to close them down. I luckily had an amazing run to finish third and win the under 23’s but I know I can run with Gemmell, it’s just a matter of coming off the bike with him or I can’t do much.”

In the women’s race Vicky Holland (GBR) continued her love affair with New Zealand this summer, taking out the final round of the Contact Tri Series in Wellington in a race that like the men also carried New Zealand championship status and ITU Oceania Championships – albeit the British triathlete wasn’t eligible for either honour. She was up for the prize money and the prestige though on a blustery but warm Wellington day, breaking away from doughty Czech Republic triahtlete Vendula Frintova to win by eight seconds, backing up from her Takapuna victory last month.