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New Zealand win for Murray and Rabie takes fourth
- Updated: April 3, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South African Olympic medal hope Richard Murray raced to a successful defence of his title at the World Cup triathlon in New Plymouth, New Zealand on Sunday.
Sunday’s race came a year after his inaugural World Cup win at this event, a win that saw him enjoy a stellar 2015 season and elevate him to one of the podium contenders in Rio later this year. It also saw him bank US$7500 for his efforts.
It was the swim leg that gave Cape Town’s Murray the most joy as he went on to cover the 750-metre swim, 20km bike and 5km run in a combined time of 53min 08sec – 20sec clear of Danish silver medallist Andreas Schilling and a further four seconds ahead of Azerbaijan’s Rostyslav Pevtsov.
‘Yeah, it’s one of my best performances in a a while,’ Murray told Road to Rio 2016, voice still hoarse from his exertions. ‘Especially from the swimming side, was just five seconds out of the water behind my leaders. For the last four or five years its’ been my goal to come out of the water with the front group of swimmers so I’ve got to look back at that and be happy with that.’
‘The bike was pretty hard, I tried to get away with two mates of mine and I told them “we’re going to go for it” but they couldn’t respond.. and then on the run I gave it quite a bit of gas as well.’
The Kiwi venue is one of Murray’s favourite spots on the frenetic ITU calendar. ‘Lovely to win two years in a row here, it’s such a great place to race and train, I really enjoy coming back here.
‘Today was a wetsuit swim and I tried out the new Zone3 gear first time I’ve used a websuit this year which was a different feeling and I felt in control while racing. Now I’ve got six days to recover before the WTS Gold Coast race in Australia and then I head back home to Cape Town the following Wednesday. Looking forward to seeing family and friends again and right now I’m just pleased with the way everything’s gone so far this year.’
The women’s race saw another hugely encouraging performance from Murray’s SA teammate Mari Rabie whose racing resurgence continues at pace.
The Stellenbosch based athlete ended up just eight seconds off the podium in fourth place as she clocked 59:28. American Gwen Jorgensen won in 58:51. Runner up was local girl Andrea Hewitt with a second US athlete Kirsten Kasper third in 59:20.
A powerful swimmer, Rabie was out of the water first with American Summer Cook in 10:27 and her bike was just 18sec off the fastest ride of the day.
The run is Rabie’s ‘weakest’ of the three disciplines but still, her 16:39 was only bettered by eight other runners on the day and Sunday’s results will see her garnering more valuable ranking points towards qualification for Rio.
Pictures courtesy of ScottieT/ITU