Seear and Docherty tops in Ishigaki

Seear and Docherty tops in Ishigaki

By ITU Admin on 11/04/04 at 12:00 am

Maxine Seear and Bevan Docherty Win First World Cup Title

Race Conditions: Air Temperature: 26C, water: humidity: 66%, wind: 3.6 ESE.

Brilliant sunshine, azure blue water, the booming of odeku drums, and thousands   of local fans lining the course set the stage for the opening event of the 2004   ITU World Cup Series.

In the women’s event Canada’s Suzanne Weckend, hot off a 3rd place finish at   the recent Pan American Championships took a lead in the 2 lap 1500m swim right   from the starter’s signal. On her heels was Britain’s Annaliese Heard, who was   here with the British team using the event as a team selection event for the   Athens Olympic Games. The duo kept a modest lead through the 1st transition   when Heard moved to the front on the 6 lap, 40 km bike, choosing to go it alone   rather than work with the Canadian.

A large group formed the chase pack out of the water, including Maxine Seear   of Australia, Britain’s Julie Dibbens, Stephanie Forrester and Michelle Dillon,   as well as Beatrice Lanza of Italy, and Lin Xing of China. At the start of the   bike they were down 23 seconds on Weckend and Heard.

Without a joint effort at the front, a group of 7 were able to bridge to the   leaders to form a new lead. Dibens and Megan Hall of South Africa took charge   at the front trying to hold off a strong group of 5 that was trying to catch   up. By the 20km mark 2 chase groups combined and subsequently caught the leaders   to form a large group at the front. Dibens, Weckend, Austria’s Eva Brambock,   and Switzerland’s Olympic Champion Brigitte McMahon were now in charge of the   lead group. Meanwhile the new chase pack was still in contention and was led   by Samantha McGlone of Canada, Brazil’s Mariana Ohata, Nicola Spirig of Switzerland,   Beatrice Lanza of Italy, and Japan’s Akiko Skine. They were 1:30 back at the   20km mark.

On the last lap Dibens and Hall continued to control things at the front, but   the lead group still lost time to the big chase pack of 25 behind. Dibens moved   to the front to avoid the congestion at the dismount line, but it was Japan’s   Maki Shimomura who proved what transition speed can be as she cleared the field   and was 1st on the run course. Dibens was 2nd out, followed closely by Machiko   Nakanishi of Japan, Maxine Seear of Australia and Andrea Whitcombe of Britain.   Noted runner Michelle Dillon of Britain had a slow transition and was last from   the leader group onto the run.

The chase pack was almost 1:30 back as they started the run. Samantha McGlone,   Nicola Spirig and Akiko Sekine were the first one clear from that group.

It didn’t take long for Michelle Dillon to run through the field on the first   lap and as she ran through the stadium area she had a 20-second lead on Maxine   Seear and Machiko Nakanishi. Andrea Whitcombe was running in 4th, with Japanese   athletes Kiyomi Niwata in 5th.

Dillon increased her lead to 36 seconds over Seear as they entered the bell   lap, but it was Kiyomi Niwata who was sending the thousands of fans around the   course into a frenzy as she seems to have secured herself a podium position   by running strongly in 3rd place.

On the last lap Maxine Seear made up 30 seconds on Dillon and as they entered   the stadium she sprinted past a faltering Dillon to set up a thrilling finish.   Kiyomi Niwata put the icing on the cake by taking the last step on the podium,   much to the delight of the home crowd.

In the men’s event, all the giants of the sport lined up on the start platform   and with the starter’s signal executed a picture perfect dive into the pristine   water of Tonoshiro Bay. On a normal day fishing boats would be heading off for   their daily catch, but today the only fishing was by 65 athletes looking to   snare a spot on the start line of the Olympic Games in Athens in just over 4   months time.

Richard Stannard of Britain took his familiar position at the lead from the   start signal with Tsukasa Hirano of Japan on his heels. Stannard led through   the first lap, but he and Hirano swam neck and neck through the final 750 metres.   Stannard was first out of the water and through the transition first, with Hirano   and Paulo Miyashiro of Brazil on his tail.

A huge pack exited the water moments behind the leaders including Shane Reed   of New Zealand, Chris Hill of Australia, Hirokatsu Tayama of Japan and Russian   teammates Ivan Vasiliev and Igor Sysoev. Greg Bennett, who stayed in about 10th   place through the swim, exited the 1st transition in 14th place. On the first   bike lap, Bennett powered his way through the field to take the lead up and   over the Southern Gate Bridge - the familiar landmark of this event.

Bennett led the huge pack of 31 riders through the first 2 laps, exchanging   with Shane Reed and Richard Stannard. The energy spinning off them as they sped   through the spectator-lined streets of Ishigaki was magic. Just before they   entered the stadium area to begin the 3rd lap, Kiwi teammates Bevan Docherty   and Kris Gemmell broke from the pack with Reed, Stannard, Axel Zeebroek from   Belgium, and Franz Hoefer from Austria on the chase to pull them. Meanwhile,   Bermuda’s Olympic hopeful Tyler Butterfield and South African Conrad Stoltz   had taken control of the chase pack and were working hard to make up some time   on the leaders.

Although the first breakaway failed, a second attempt by Kris Gemmell, Cyrille   Mazur of France and Vasiliv Krommidas, who will be competing at home this summer   in Greece succeeded. The trio gained time on the massive pack behind through   the 4th and 5th lap, as Gerald Hovarth, Richard Stannard and Igor Sysoev tried   in vain to break from the massive pack and bridge to the leaders. It was at   this time that the second chase pack powered their way up to the big chase pack,   thanks to the brave hearts of Butterfield, Stoltz and Austria’s Norbert Dominik.

Gemmell, Mazure and Krommidas swept through the second transition with speedy   proficiency, but it was Mazure who was first onto the final 10km run course.   They had barely cleared the transition when the remainder of the field arrived   in mass. Bevan Docherty, Richard Stannard, Dimitry Gaag of Kazahkstan, Chris   Hill, Richard Allen, Andrew Johns and Greg Bennett were the first from the huge   pack through onto the run in the hunt for the leaders.

Docherty and Gaag overtook the leaders on the 1st lap and built up a 15 second   lead on the trio of Bennett and British team-mates Paul Amey and Andrew Johns.   A second chase pack a further 20 seconds back was led by British teammates Richard   Stannard and Stuart Hayes and Juraci Moreira of Brazil.

Docherty and Gaag increased their lead to 25 seconds and continued to run shoulder   to shoulder at the front through the 2nd and 3rd lap, as Bennett, Johns and   Amey ran together in a sea-saw battle for the final step on the podium. A further   15 seconds back, Brazilians Leandro Macedo and Juraci Moreira were running together   with Stuart Hayes of Britain.

With more 2nd place finishers than anyone else in World Cup history, and never   a win, Bevan Docherty didn’t settle for 2nd today. He romped away from Gaag   on the final lap to win the 2004 ITU Ishigaki Triathlon World Cup. He even had   time to spare in the finish straight to exchange high 5’s from enthusiastic   spectators. Dimitri Gaag was 2nd and Paul Amey of Britain with a huge comeback   from several years of injury was 3rd - which also earned him a spot on the British   Olympic team for Athens.

For complete results please visit www.triathlon.org - for more information   contact ITU Media at ituhdq@triathlon.org

 

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