- Pace bounces back with strong finish in Thailand
- Blitzboks take it easy before Las Vegas Sevens
- Maripa bags first title of the year in Bolton
- England wrap up Summer Series with 2-0 win against SA
- Five more Meet records at SA Grand Prix
- Fichardt nails 15th Sunshine Tour win at Joburg Open
- SA duo struggle at Tokyo Marathon
- Le Clos leads the way at SA Grand Prix in Stellenbosch
- SA women lead but go down to England in Summer Series
- Rain delay shortens Joburg Open still further
Roberts races to 12th
- Updated: November 23, 2011
By Mark Etheridge
Our leading women’s triathlete, Kate Roberts has continued her fight back to top form with a fine 12th spot in the ITU World Cup event in Auckland, New Zealand.
Roberts clocked a combined time of 2hr 18min 12 seconds to end 4:08 behind the host nation’s Andrea Hewitt who crossed the finish line in 2:14:12.
She exited the swim leg a second up on Hewitt in 20:18 after Japan’s Mariko Adachi quickest out of the water in 19:49.
The bike leg saw Roberts having problems with her chain and she lost ground, being timed at 1:19:27. Compare this to the first four finishers of the event, who all had rides of below 1:16 and Roberts was always going to be playing catch-up on the 10km run. Still, her run of 34:46 was exactly the same as Hewitt’s, which will give Roberts renewed belief that she’s back to the form that saw her ranked seventh in the world in 2010.
Roberts hasn’t had a year anything like her 2010 where she ended as the world’s seventh best triathlete has suffered a series of injury and health setbacks but at last she seems to be regaining top form. “All is ace my side although I was rather disappointed in Auckland as I was feeling strong on the bike and in the chase pack but then went up of the big climbs and my chain came off, causing me to drop off the pack and pretty much cycle the last three laps of the ride by myself and the third pack caught me right at the end,” Roberts told Road to London 2012.
“But my swim and run were both good and I felt really strong on the bike until my chain came off. It was a brutal course with 24 hills in the 40 kilometers, so the toughest course on the ITU circuit this year.”
Coach Darren Smith is hoping the corner has now been turned. “If I was to be a hard-*rsed coach then I would suggest that dropping the chain is more a reflection of not preparing the bike properly and a rookie mistake as small matters like that actually matter a lot. But yes, it was a step in the right direction after having a chance to get it together and re-evaluate since the last race.”
Smith is fully aware of how tough the competition is going to be in London next year should Roberts make Team South Africa. “Accountability, being fully professional will all be key factors in our review next week when she arrives for the final push for 2012. And as ugly and embarrassing as is seems her 2011 year might have been the medicine she neededÔÇª time will tell.”
For her side, Roberts is revitalised. “There have been great improvements and I’m so happy about that. The Olympic dream is burning brightly and things are back on track for selection. I’m in Perth for a few days now and then back to camp in Canberra with the coach from 1 December and then back home to race SA and African championships in March.