22 Aug 2011

New Zealand team finish 10th Champs

5:57 am on 22 August 2011

An under strength New Zealand finished in tenth place at the World Team Triathlon Championships in Switzerland, with hot favourites Great Britain dominating as expected with their 'dream team' of the Brownlee brothers, Helen Jenkins and Jodie Stimpson.

Andrea Hewitt led out for the Kiwis who were hopeful of a strong showing despite not having the likes of Bevan Docherty, Ryan Sissons or Kate McIlroy available.

The Christchurch triathlete didn't disappoint either, backing up from her bronze in the individual sprint World Championship the day before to lead the field to the first change over.

Clark Ellice was next up for New Zealand and battled bravely to be 41 seconds down on the leaders in 7th.

Ellice was in the lead group on the bike until he lost contact up the steep hill midway through the 6km one lap blast.

Jonathan Brownlee put in an incredible leg for the Brits as he made up a 16 second deficit to lead at the end of the leg, tagging Helen Jenkins for leg three while Ellice passed on to Nicky Samuels.

Samuels kept that gap to just on one minute off the bike, moving up to 5th place but lost too much time on the run for final leg competitor Tony Dodds to have any chance of medalling.

This was only made worse with the team copping a 15 second stand down penalty, with Dodds having to wait 100m from the finish as the Hungarians ran by while those seconds ticked away.

The event was well received by athletes, fans and the media with the ITU pushing for its inclusion on the Olympic Games programme in Rio 2016, resulting in 30 teams lining up to chase the medals with most teams including their very best individual athletes in the chase for team glory.

The second New Zealand team made up of youngsters Penny Hayes and Rebecca Kingsford alongside James Elvery and Martin Van Barneveld finished down the field in 22nd place.