Photos: Tommy Zaferes/World Triathlon
If there is one guarantee following Kyle Smith’s World Cup Huatulco disappointment on Sunday, it’s the fact the Kiwi will come out swinging even more aggressively next time in his bid to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The Girona-based, Taupo 25-year-old has finished 36th in the second round of World Triathlon’s second-tier circuit, not the ranking points boost he wanted in the race to secure more World Cup and World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) starts and further press his Paris ’24 claims.
Smith rode his way to near the front of a 30-strong lead pack off the bike at the sprint race in the Mexican tourist destination but faded over the 5km run in the sticky 33-degree Celsius heat.
A transponder issue meant his splits were not recorded in the official World Triathlon results but his gun time of 56:36 left Smith 2mins 23sec down on winner David Castro Fajardo.
The Spaniard, who edged Otago Medical School student Janus Staufenberg in a sprint finish to win Oceania Cup Taupo in February, won in 54:13 with a lightning 15:01 5km split.
It continued a purple patch for Castro Fajardo who won the European Championship in Madrid earlier this month. The world No.21 outkicked Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk (54:14) and Mexican Aram Michell Peñaflor Moysen (54:17) to top the Huatulco podium. It was the Peñaflor’s maiden World Cup medal.
The women’s race, sans any New Zealanders, was won by Mexico’s Anahi Alvarez Corral in 1:00:31. Former World and Olympic Champion Gwen Jorgensen (USA) was second in 1:01:04 with another Mexican, Mercedes Romero Orozco, third in 1:01:11.