Monday, 15 September 2008

Kiwi's podium in Europe and California

Press Release: Triathlon New Zealand.
15th September 2008.

New Zealand Triathletes continue to fly the flag proudly in Europe and North America with podiums on both continents this weekend thanks to Graham O'Grady and Callum Millward.

First up was Graham O'Grady enjoying his best result of the season with a podium finish in Vienna yesterday.

O'Grady was racing in the ITU Vienna Triathlon on the European Cup circuit and had Kiwi company in Lee Greer and Ben Visser in the men's and Julia Grant, Anna Elvery in the women's race.

O'Grady looks back on a strong finish in a good quality field.

"I have had a really easy last 10 days to help freshen up for this event and it paid off. I was feeling quite good so were hoping things would come together here in Austria.

"On Friday night we were sitting around waiting for race briefing to kick off, watching the athletes roll in, and with each strong athlete that we recognized we ticked another place and to be honest thought 'there goes the top 10!'

"It was indeed quite a good field lining up but I carried on about my business and focused on what I needed to do to have a good race. Racing at four in the afternoon isn't the most enjoyable time to race, there is too much time to think of things to worry about during the day!

"I started well in the one loop swim. The 690m to the first turn meant there wasn't too much fighting, everyone just found some space and got on with it. I was comfortably in around 5th place at the turn and remained there till the swim exit.
"Out on the 4 lap cycle leg I pushed the pace early to try and form a group to get away but when I looked back there must have been at least 20 guys strung out in a line following. Nevertheless I worked hard on the front in the first 25km trying a few times to break away but nothing stuck.

"At the 30km mark I led through the turnaround, which was a series of 3 tight corners, I got a gap and was off. Another athlete joined me and we went for it, driving it hard over the last 10km's. By the time we got back to transition we had I think around a minute lead.

"I was running scared wondering how long it would take to get mauled by the 50 athletes coming off the bike together behind us. At the 500m mark I hit the lead of the race, the run was 5 'out and back' loops so you could see what the time gaps were every few minutes. As I expected I lost a lot of time in the first 2km with every one in the chase pack racing each other on adrenalin in the first stages of the run. I was able to start out at a comfortable pace for me and build on that. I held the lead till just after the 7km mark, but managed to keep things together and cross the line 2nd 30secs off the win and a few seconds ahead of 3rd.

"I am really happy, although it would have been fantastic to have won, I am pleased to have put together an honest race and finish on the podium."

The other Kiwis didn't fare so well with Lee Greer in 29th and Ben Visser 38th in a fiercely competitive event.

In the women's race Kelly Bruce was pleased with her efforts in securing a top ten finish (8th) while Julia Grant was over five minutes off the lead in 18th and Anna Elvery had the misfortune of a puncture during the bike leg, forcing her out of the race for what she described as "a long way to come for a flat tyre!"

ITU Vienna Triathlon European Cup
Elite Men
1 Nils Frommhold GER 1.43.44
2 Graham O'Grady NZL 1.44.13
3 Igor Sysoev RUS 1.44.20
4 Yulian Malyshev RUS 1.44.46
5 Ivan Tutukin RUS 1.45.01
Plus
29 Lee Greer NZL 1.47.16
38 Ben Visser NZL 1.48.07

Elite Women
1 Rebecca Robisch GER 1.56.28
2 Tania Haiboeck AUT 1.57.12
3 Kathrin Muller GER 1.57.25
4 Helle Frederiksen DEN 1.57.38
5 Irina Abyssova RUS 1.58.10
Plus
8 Kelly Bruce NZL 1.59.15
18 Julia Grant NZL 2.04.51
DNF Anna Elvery NZL

In other results Callum Millward continues his slow but sure return to top level racing after suffering calf muscle injuries some 12 months ago that threatened his future in the sport.

Millward finished a creditable third in the Pacific Grove Triathlon on the California Coast, one of the big non-drafting races on the North American calendar.

The race doubled as a qualifying event for the famous and rich Escape From Alcatraz Event.

Pacific Grove Triathlon
Pro Men
1. Victor Plata USA 1:50:19
2. Joe Umphenour USA 1:50:32
3. Callum Millward NZL 1:50:54

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