Choppy surf didn’t stop Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson from flying to gold at the 2013 Devonport OTU Sprint Oceania Championships on Saturday. Likewise, Australia’s own Peter Kerr, who has a background in surf livesaving, conquered the swell to claim the men’s sprint title.
Although Maddison Allen (AUS) secured an incredible minute lead over the 750m swim, a talented group of elite international competitors followed her onto the bike course in quick pursuit. With improving wind conditions, Stimpson and Irish Olympian Aileen Reid narrowed the gap to Allen to just 20 seconds early in the bike leg, while Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Gillian Backhouse (AUS) and Lauren Parker (AUS) followed in the second chase pack another 15 seconds back.
By the bell lap, Stimpson and Reid pulled even with Allen and together the trio hit the pavement with a 30-second advantage. Despite trailing half a minute heading out onto the quick 5km run, Jorgensen let loose her explosive run speed to overtake Reid and Allen. However, Stimpson, who has focused on her run training in the last six months, was too great to run down, as she locked up gold with the fastest run split of the day.
Jorgensen, who clocked the only other sub-18 minute run of the day, crossed over for silver, while Reid took home third almost 40 seconds later. Charlotte McShane was the first Aussie to finish, posting the fourth-fastest time of the day.
The hunt for the men’s podium saw a more congested battle, with a sizeable group fighting for the title in the final 500 meters. After working together to conquer the turbulent tide on the splash and dash swim, the large lead pack, which included Australia’s Aaron Royle, Marcel Walkington, Brendan Sexton and Kerr, continued their strategy to ride together on the bike.
With Ryan Bailie (AUS) often at the helm, the group hammered half a minute ahead of the chase pack, leaving the title to be decided on the run. Dan Wilson (AUS) headed a break away on the final lap of the 20km bike, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the hungry pack.
Although Bailie attempted to break the group, it was Kerr who switched into turbo gear on the final 500 meters, leading a heated sprint for the finish chute. Kerr claimed the win by four seconds, followed by Bailie and Jamie Huggett (AUS).
Official results are forthcoming.
|Results: Elite Women|