Triathlon: Samuels wins Xterra World Champs

Wanaka's Nicky Samuels. Photo / Getty Images.
Wanaka's Nicky Samuels. Photo / Getty Images.

A superb mountain bike leg was the key to New Zealander Nicky Samuels' victory in the Xterra World Championship off-road triathlon in Hawaii today (Mon) but it was almost her undoing too.

Second out of the water in the 1.5km swim leg, Samuels, who is relatively inexperienced in off-road events, made her move early on the 32km mountain bike leg and held on to her lead on the 10km run to the finish in Maui.

However, her lack of off-road riding almost cost her.

"I haven't done much mountain biking and as a result I was getting cramp in my hamstrings while on the run, which wasn't pleasant to say the least,'' Samuels said. "But I had a good time buffer so was okay to cruise the last couple of kilometres in the run for a great day and a great result.''

Samuels, ranked No14 in the world as a triathlete, beat a top field dominated by American and including many off-road experts. Second place went to two time defending champion Lesley Paterson but the American was no match for the Wanaka-based Kiwi.

Samuels becomes the second New Zealander to win a Pro division race, after Hamish Carter took out the men's Xterra world title in 2006.

Braden Currie, also from Wanaka, was fifth in the men's race won by Spaniard Ruben Rufaza Cueto.

Tauranga's Sarah Backley was 19th in the women's race.

Women's results: Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:57:49, 1; Lesley Paterson (USA) 3:00:15, 2; Flora Duffy (USA) 3:00:20, 3.

Women's results: Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:57:49, 1; Lesley Paterson (USA) 3:00:15, 2; Flora Duffy (USA) 3:00:20, 3.

- APNZ

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