Photos: World Triathlon

By Kent Gray/
Tayler Reid prides himself on being a “tidy Kiwi” in triathlon transitions, a trait that only accentuated his angst after Saturday’s bittersweet Wollongong World Cup.

The Gisborne 27-year-old has spoken for the first time since being slapped with a 10 second penalty for “equipment outside the box” at the sprint race, a moment of cruel luck that ultimately nudged him off the podium.

A smaller than usual plastic bin and uncooperative helmet in T2 conspired against Reid, costing the former world U23 champion a likely silver medal in ‘The Gong” and more importantly, a swag more precious Olympic ranking points.  

He eventually finished 4th after surging early on the final lap of the 5km run in the hope he could serve the penalty and still have just enough blue carpeted runway to sprint for the podium. Unfortunately South African Jamie Riddle and Chilean Diego Moya had just enough breathing space to pip Reid and round out a podium topped by runaway Aussie winner Luke Willian.

The consolation for Reid came with the release of World Triathlon’s Olympic Qualification Rankings recalculation overnight. After climbing 12 spots with his silver medal at last week’s Oceania Standard Distance Championship, Reid has taken a further two steps northward to 36th following Wollongong.

New Zealand’s hopes of having three representatives toe the start line in the individual men’s race at the Paris Olympics on July 30 rests on having all three in the top 30 of the Olympic Qualification Rankings. Hayden Wilde is currently ranked 2nd and Dylan McCullough 25th.

Speaking en route to China where he’ll meet up with Portugal based partner and Kiwi No.1 Nicole van der kaay ahead of next week’s World Triathlon Cup Chengdu, Reid admitted he was “absolutely gutted” in the immediate aftermath but had moved on.

“I was good enough for second and to not even stand on the podium was tough,” Reid told

“But I give myself the day to be pissed then move on. So leaving Wollongong happy with the work that I have been doing in training. And hungry leading into Chengdu.”

Photos of the transition bins shared online didn’t help much on Saturday.  They were smaller than usual for World Triathlon races and once stuffed with a balky wetsuit, didn’t leave much room for anything else.

“I was talking to the guys before the race about them being small, they kept blowing away when we were trying to set up,” Reid said.

“I’m guessing they didn’t think it was going to be a wetsuit swim. But at the end of the day it was the same for everyone else and I just got a bit unlucky.”

Word of the penalty was passed onto Reid by his parents who were cheering on out on the course.

“The problem was I couldn’t figure out what for. I knew my mounts were good and was confident I didn’t bash anyone in the swim. On another day,  if I didn’t need the points so much, I would have risked a DQ and then protested but yesterday wasn’t a day to gamble.”

Reid made the calculation to sprint early and “give it everything” on the last lap.

“Unfortunately it came up short. In hindsight I think I should have taken it [the penalty] a lap early and then run back on and backed my sprint, but I’m not very experienced with penalties.

“In fact, this might be my first one and hopefully it’s the last. I’m usually a tidy Kiwi in transition.”

Monday week’s World Cup in Chengdu is over the standard distance so carries a higher ranking points weighing than Wollongong. Reid will collect more points than he did in Australian with a top 8 finish in China but will be hopeful of cashing in higher up the results list given his form – and a cleaner race.

After the cancellation of WTCS Abu Dhabi in early March, Chengdu will be just van der Kaay’s second race of the year after her move to Portugal to train under Estonian Paulo Sousa.

Van der Kaay was 13th at European Triathlon Cup Quarteira on the Algrave later in March in a performance impacted by a 15 second swim penalty and some inevitable early season rust in, you guessed it, transition.

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