Image courtesy World Triathlon

By Kent Gray/

Tayler Reid was thrilled to be at the pointy end of Sunday’s World Triathlon Championship Series decider for two-thirds of the race but disappointed to let another golden opportunity slip in Abu Dhabi as he faded to 36th after feeling like a “piano fell on me’’ during the decisive 10km run.

The Gisborne 26-year-old was sixth out of the water and a reluctant free-wheeler at the tail of a nine-rider breakaway group that included eventual race and WTSC champion Léo Bergère.

He couldn’t push on the bike for fear of pulling Bergère further away from Kiwi mate Hayden Wilde who was back in the chasing peloton struggling to keep his world title shot alive.

It didn’t end well for Wilde who battled to sixth to finish third overall. Reid, meanwhile, hoped he might be able to cash in on the relatively easy breakaway bike tow but like the Super League decider in Neom late last month, simply ran out of battery power on the run.

“I thought because I’d saved the legs on the bike, I was going to run really well. Unfortunately, I only ran really well for one lap and then just, yeah a piano fell on me, I was just battling the rest of the way, unfortunately,” said Reid who completed the Olympic distance race in 1:47:43, 3mins 29sec adrift of Bergère.

“Definitely a good swim, a good start and I felt really good, put myself in a good position, came out in the breakaway which was awesome. Felt super guilty because I did not take a turn a single turn [on the front] but I had like, you know Haydo was going for a world title [so] a great excuse for me not to pull any turns because my mate was going for a world title, I can’t pull the break and Leo away from him.

“I needed to play the team card there, it made me feel super guilty but that’s how it is.”

Reid is now looking forward to returning to Gisborne for a well-deserved break ahead of the ‘Kiwi Summer of Tri’ including Oceania Cup races in Wanaka and Taupo in February before World Cup New Plymouth on March 26.

He’ll reflect on a challenging year which included a bout of COVID, 8th at the Commonwealth Games and promising results in Super League.

“Today, just didn’t have it. Not a good way to finish the season but it’s been a long one, very up and down and I’m looking for a good break now. Been away for six months, really looking forward to seeing my family and being back in NZ so that’s what’s next.”

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