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Emma Moffatt and Laurent Vidal come out on top in Geelong

12 February 2012 by Merryn Sherwood
Emma Moffatt and Laurent Vidal come out on top in Geelong

Emma Moffatt and Laurent Vidal lived up to their headliner status in Geelong on Sunday, with the top-two ranked athletes in the field taking the titles at the 2012 Geelong ITU Sprint Triathlon Premium Oceania Cup.

In the women’s race, athletes faced windy conditions around the Corio bay course but the layout held no fears for Moffatt who lead the women out of the 750m swim leg. New Zealand’s Teresa Adam and Sarrisa de Vries were hot on her heels, but on the bike leg the Dutch athlete was dropped early as Moffatt and Adam battled for the lead throughout the 20km leg. They opened up a 50-second gap to the chasing pack, which became nearly a minute and half by the end of the 20km circuit and the transition to the 5km run.

But once off the bike there was no looking back for Moffatt who put 30 seconds into Adam and the rest of the field with a stunning opening lap, and claimed her third Geelong title and second Australian sprint championship. Germany’s Anne Haug and Great Britain’s Liz Blatchford both ran past Adams into silver and bronze respectively.

Moffatt said afterwards she went hard in her first lap of the 5km run to guarantee the win.

“I was just trying to stick with Teresa in the swim and on the bike. It was a good challenge for me to stay with her; and then I felt pretty good on the run so I just went for it and finished it off. I didn’t want anyone running over the top of me,” said Moffatt. “That’s the competitor coming out. It’s always nice to have someone chasing, or having someone right there to chase – it’s the high pressure situations.”

The sun broke through for the start of the men’s race, with Australian James Seear emerging first from Corio bay to open up a narrow lead over the 56-strong field. But the local and international challengers bunched at the start of the bike leg, with Chris McCormack driving the front of the lead group. As the first 20 riders stretched out down the road, Australia’s Brendan Sexton pulled out with a broken seat post. A mass of riders then hit T2 together, but the race eventually came down to Vidal and Great Britain’s William Clarke who had opened a gap in the closing stages.

After shadowing each other on the last lap, Vidal managed to kick away with the finish line in sight. He finished in 55 minutes, 19 seconds, holding off Clarke by two seconds. New Zealand’s Tony Dodds was in third. 

“I think my face tells the pain,” Vidal said. “It was really hard, pushing it. I must have found an extra gear in the last 500m. I had to work a little bit on the bike. It was a really hard 50 minutes but it’s a fantastic course – a bit of change from Christchurch where I train, so I really enjoyed it.”

Clarke said it was the first step in his aim to prepare for Sydney, and join the Great British team as the third man behind Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“It’s my first race of the season and at the moment I’m the third best man behind the Brownlees… It’s obviously really tough thing to qualify with the Brownlee brothers, but hopefully I can get them and hopefully I can press for Sydney.

“I just wanted to have a good swim, get out in the front, stay out there on the bike, stay out there as long as possible and then run as fast as I could, I went out quick and I felt good but I was just a little tired in the last kilometre and couldn’t quite finish off.”

Australia’s Drew Box finished in fourth place, enough to secure the Australian title.

With files from USM and Triathlon Australia

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