Nicole van der Kaay has posted an impressive 16th place on debut at ITU World Cup racing in Mooloolaba yesterday, the 20-year-old coping well with the step up to World Cup racing in a quality field while fellow Kiwi Deb Lynch was 31st.
The women's race was won by Jodie Stimpson (GBR), from Emma Moffatt (AUS) and Kirsten Kasper (USA).
Van der Kaay swam strongly to exit the water with the leaders and then rode comfortably with some of the best athletes in the world to position herself superbly heading out on to the run, coming home in a highly creditable position for her first ITU World Cup event, ahead of many much more experienced and well credentialed athletes in the process.
"I am stoked with my first world Cup and how it panned out. I executed my race plan well in what was an awesome experience to be racing in and amongst the best in the world," said van der Kaay.
Lynch (Porirua) wasn't able to keep in touch during the vital stages of the ocean swim and was playing catch-up throughout, finishing in 31st in just her third race at this level.
"I had a solid swim and bike to get myself comfortably in the main group, this is a big improvement on my only other World Cup races two years ago. I was a bit gutted to miss the front group but the swim is definitely on the up. The run was a bit of survival mission in the heat but overall I am pleased with how I am tracking towards the Oceania Champs in Gisborne next weekend."
Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Coach Tim Brazier was with the team in Mooloolaba
"Both the girls took a great step forward in a very strong field today.
Nicole had a great swim and positioned herself nicely to get the wave which broke up the field, unfortunately for Deb she just missed that boat and was stuck in the chase group. Both positioned themselves well on the bike, and delivered solid run performances to bring home solid debut performance for Nicole and a steady step for Deb.
"Whilst I know Deb will be very disappointed with her result; for both of them, if they keep progressing the way they are, they will get to the podium."
In men's racing Andrew Lloyd was not able to finish the event and Braden Currie continues to find the step up to ITU racing a challenging one, coming home in 44th place-