Maddison Allen (AUS) gained an early advantage on the swim, but her lead ended quickly when she crashed just passed the transition exit. Though Allen was ready to race on, her bike was damaged in the fall forcing her to withdrawal from the race.
Kate Mcllroy (NZL) took advantage of the opportunity to make a move on the bike, securing nearly a minute lead midway through the 40km bike. But with no help at the front, Mcllroy slowed to join the chase group by the end of the bike.
With McIllroy in her sites at the second transition, Abram quickly put a plan in place to power ahead on the run, leaving the Kiwi and fellow Aussie Grace Musgrove to claim the win. Mcllroy secured silver and her first national title on home soil in 2:05:07. Musgrove rounded out the top three 12 seconds later.
“I guess I quietly put some pressure on myself today, I was racing for my Uncle (Peter Abram) who is back home very sick with lung and brain cancer and I said I would race and do my best to win for him today, I said I would do anything to spur him on back home. I wasn’t planning on racing this early in the season though so to blow the cobwebs out I am quite satisfied,” Abram said.
A similar fate to Allen befell Ryan Sissons (NZL), as he too was forced to pull out of the race. But the race for the home country favourite was over before it began when he cut his foot during warm-up and headed for stitches in lieu of the start line.
With Sissons missing, Kerr seized the opportunity to claim his second Oceania Championship title, becoming both the sprint and Olympic-distance king with a stellar final kilometer on the run.
“I love it, when you win it is satisfying, I am going into races with a different attitude to be at the pointy end and then that isn’t good enough, I want to be top five and take out races which isn’t as easy as it sounds but at the moment I am in great form and proud to be Oceania Champion,” said Kerr.
With files from New Zealand Triathlon
While the OTU Sprint Oceania Championships were just a few short weeks ago in Devonport, this weekend athletes will contest the OTU continental titles over twice the distance in Wellington.
Choppy surf and windy conditions didn’t stop Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson and Australia’s own Peter Kerr from claiming gold at the 2013 Devonport OTU Sprint Oceania Championships on Saturday.