It was a race to forget for the Kiwi women at the ITU World Series Grand Final in Mexico this morning, with Nicky Samuels crashing out of contention and Andrea Hewitt, Rebecca Spence and Simone Ackermann well back out of the water and out of contention despite showing great fight on another hot day in Cozumel this morning.
In the 1500m swim leg it was only Samuels that was good enough to make the main chase group out of the water while Hewitt, Spence and Ackermann found themselves in the third group on the road and soon 90 seconds behind the breakaway lead group of three.
Flora Duffy (BER) was always going to try and ride away from the field, knowing she had to defeat Gwen Jorgensen or at the very least finish immediately behind her on the podium if she was to take our the overall world title. The Bermudan did just that, taking Lucy Hall (GBR) and Jessica Learmonth (GBR) with her, establishing a 35 second lead over the first chase pack of 18 that included Jorgensen, Samuels, Stimpson (GBR), Holland (GBR) and numerous other big hitters, with a further minute back to the rest of the Kiwis and the third group on the road.
It was just before the midway point on the bike that disaster struck Samuels as she and Vicky Holland came down in a crash just after a right hand turn on the bike, taking Holland out of contention as they hit the concrete roads of Cozumel hard. Samuels bravely got back on board but was by then over three minutes behind the leaders.
Meanwhile the trio out front continued to extend the lead, eventually entering T2 with a lead of 1:06 over the first chase pack. The second group that included Hewitt, Spence and Ackermann lost more time on the leaders, starting the run over two and a half minutes behind with any chance of another World Championship podium gone for Hewitt.
The run then was an exercise in seeing how many of the athletes ahead of her she could catch and pass for the Kiwis and both Ackermann and Hewitt did a great fighting job of that, with Hewitt 17th and Ackermann finishing 19th and while Spence withdrew in the oppressive conditions before the midway point on the 10km.
Duffy held on superbly to win the race and in doing so the overall title ahead of a tiring Jorgensen, with Charlotte McShane (AUS) taking the sprint for bronze on the day from Jenkins (GBR).
Earlier in the day a young New Zealand team finished 12th in the U23/Junior Mixed Team Relay. The decision to race was only made in the hours before the start in light of the unavailability of leading U23 athletes Sam Ward (still recovering from dehydration from the individual race) and Maddie Dillon (not able to race due to a bike crash).
Lizzie Stannard (U19), Tayler Reid, Katherine Badham (U19) and Dan Hoy (U19) lined up though and gave a good account of themselves against much older opponents, eventually finishing just over a minute behind winners Spain.
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- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Triathlon New Zealand