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Murray makes up ground to take fifth spot in Cape Town
- Updated: April 27, 2014
By Mark Etheridge
London Olympian Richard Murray was South Africa’s best finisher as the World Triathlon Series wrapped up its first, and certainly not last, visit to the African continent in Cape Town on Sunday.
After Britain dominated the elite women’s competition with a 1-2 courtesy of Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins on Saturday, it was Spain’s Javier Gomez who spoilt the British party as he moved ahead of Jonathan Brownlee after halfway through the 10km run.
The Spaniard, who like Stimpson, won the first leg of the series in Auckland earlier this month, went on to cover the 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in 1:44:52 with Brownleed 19sec in arrears.
Murray is always going to play catch-up over the final two bike-run legs of the three-code event as he continues to work on improving his swimming and again on Sunday he came from behind to end an agonising two places off the podium in 1:45:57.
He had the second best 10km run of the day with a 30:09, just nine seconds behind training partner Mario Mola of Spain.
African champion Henri Schoeman provided a huge roar from the crowd as he came through the finish area on the first of eight bike laps (40km in total) but then faded on the run leg to end 17th in 1:46:54
World junior champion in 2012, Wian Sullwald was also part of the lead swim and bike pack and ended 15th in 1:46.44.
Murray was upbeat after his finish on home turf. “The crowd and atmosphere was unbelievable and on a par with the Olympics,” he said.
“I just didn’t feel myself today. Actually, I thought my swim was pretty good but then when I came into transition one and I saw the a lot fewer bikes in the racks it was quite surprising.
“I just couldn’t go as hard as I would have liked but there’s always room to improve. There was obviously pressure on me to perform but it wasn’t bad as I expected.”
Murray’s cause wasn’t helped by some misleading split-time feedback that was relayed to the crowd and indicating that Murray and the second bunch was continuously closing in whereas for most of the bike the gap was pretty static and in fact on the penultimate lap actually grew.
Schoeman was left rueing a crucial error in transition two from bike to run. “My glasses slipped off and went into the crowd so that took more than five seconds to get them back and in the box to avoid a time penalty and that proved vital.
“I tried to catch up too quickly then!”
Schoeman has been getting over an ankle injury that saw him unable to defend his national title in East London a few weeks back and says he can still feel the effects. “I’m tired now after three tough races in a month so will take it easy for a week now before we build-up to Yokohama in three weeks time.”