Images courtesy World Triathlon

By Kent Gray/
Momentum. It’s all emerging athletes seek in elite sport and exactly why Eva Goodisson and Olivia Thornbury were so justifiably happy after World Cup Miyazaki on Saturday.

The Kiwi duo gleefully ticked off career-best results in Japan, Goodisson 7th and Thornbury 11th in a sprint distance race noteworthy for a gnarly white water swim and a red-hot 17:03 5km split by eventual winner, Dane Alberte Kjaer Pedersen.

RELATED: After ‘quite the smashing’ in the swim, Janus Staufenberg digs deep to lead Kiwi males home at World Cup Miyazaki

For Goodisson (pictured right), a first World Cup top-10 is the continuation of an impressive first full season on the World Triathlon circuit. The Havelock North 24-year-old had reeled off  41st, 20th and 11th placings in her three previous World Cup starts in Arzachena, Bergen and Valencia and was also an eye-catching 24th at World Triathlon Championship Series Montreal – the governing body’s premier race series.

“To come away with my best World Cup result is epic and to be so close to the podium makes me more motivated for 2023,” she said.

Goodisson’s has transitioned to tri with running pedigree which included being awarded a athletics scholarship to the University of California, Davis. But it was her performance in the breaking waves and especially on the bike that pleased her most Saturday.

“The wind really picked up right before we started which made it for a wicked swim. I personally love beach starts so I was off to a great start diving over the first wave. Things got pretty hectic coming back in but I was pleased to be up in the top eight [provisionally 6th] out of the water,” Goodisson said.

“The wind made the bike tough work but we had a lead pack of 18 that dropped to about 15 by the end. The big focus today was bike skills for me as that’s what has lacked in previous races. So my focus was to stay up the front and dominant in the pack and around corners which I was pleased to execute. To come into T2 up the front was a key focus and positioning in the last lap was crucial so I was happy to tick that off too.”

Goodisson’s track pedigree shone through on the run made difficult by a mixture of Pedersen’s hot pace and the wind.

“I felt a little fatigued on the first lap but really warmed up on the second lap and slowly picked off the girls.

“Unfortunately it’s the end of the season for me now. I’m feeling good but it’s been a long season so I’m excited for a wee break before fully focusing on 2023 and building up Olympic points.”

Thornbury avenges Mexico debut

Thornbury’s World Cup debut in Huatulco, Mexico in early July was an eye-opener. The Dunedin 24-year-old was caught up in the early swim washing machine and never recovered from being “beaten up”, eventually finishing 44th.

The Otago Medical School student (pictured above left and below) was determined to produce a performance more reflective of her ability and did just that In Japan, mixing it with Goodisson in the “hectic” swim the bike.

“I’m so stoked with that… really happy to have executed a race I’m happy with,” Thornbury said.

“… the waves were big and the swell was knocking us around but I had a great start and got myself in a good position avoiding the hustle and bustle. I was actually surprised to come out as near the front as I did, so it was a great start.

“The bike was tough with the wind, but I managed to keep myself sheltered amongst the others. Definitely a few learnings to take away from the bike in terms of positioning but that’ll come.

“I probably noticed the wind on the run the most, I found myself a bit isolated and had to work hard into the wind. Better positioning coming off the bike into transition would have helped with this. But overall I’m really happy with my fight to the end and super stoked to place just outside top 10.

“It’s a big confidence booster coming off a tough experience in Huatulco. Bring on the next one!”

The next race will be in Malaysia when Thornbury and partner Janus Staufenberg, the best of the three Kiwi men on Saturday in 14th place, line up in Asian Cup Ipoh in Nov. 26. A huge run from Staufenberg, the freshly minted NZ 10km Road Race champion, saw him edge Saxon Morgan and Dylan McCullough in 17th and 28th places respectively.

The men’s race was won by Italian Gianluca Pozzatti in 53:11 with Spainard Alberto Gonzalez Garcia and Portugal’s Ricardo Batista rounding out the podium at 6s and 7s down respectively.

Pedersen won in 1:00:43, 12 seconds clear of Ilaria Zane (ITA) with Olivia Mathias (GBR) claiming bronze a further second adrift.

Alberte Kjaer Pedersen

World Cup Miyazaki Results (With NZ splits)

Elite Women (750m/20km/5km)
1. Alberte Kjaer Pedersen (DEN)  1:00:43
Ilaria Zane (ITA) 1:00:55
 Olivia Mathias (GBR) 1:00:56
7th – Eva Goodison (NZL) 1:01:05 ­– S: 11:06 (13th fastest). B: 31:09 (7th). R: 17.22 (8th)
11th – Olivia Thornbury (NZL) 1:01:25 – S: 11:04 (8th). B: 31:11 (10th). R: 17:41 (14th)

Elite Men (740m*/20km/5km)
1.Gianluca Pozzatti (ITA) 53:11
2. Alberto Gonzalez Garcia (ESP) 53:17
3. Ricardo Batista (POR) 53:18
14th – Janus Staufenberg (NZL) 54:17 – S: 09:28 (53rd fastest). B: 28:03 (10th). R: 15:24 (9th)
17th – Saxon Morgan (NZL) 54:20 – S: 9:01 (18th ). B: 28:35 (43rd). R: 15:29 (11th)
28th – Dylan McCullough (NZL) 54:48 – S: 09:11 (27th). B: 28:17 (26th). R: 15:58 (30th)

*Course shortened due to swim conditions

Leave a Comment