Photo: World Triathlon

By Kent Gray/
There’s one guarantee when Tayler Reid races and is asked to analyse his performance afterwards for the cameras. You are never, ever, left wondering.

He has one speed – full bore – and rarely leaves anything out on the course. Until Monday in China that was when the Gisborne 27-year-old quite literally lost his breakfast fighting for a Paris Olympic Games start.

Within 400m of the line at World Triathlon Cup Chengdu and all set to engage eventual winner Max Stapley in a sprint to the tape, second-placed Reid suddenly slowed and began vomiting. Once, twice, three times in quick succession.

German Jonas Schomburg dodged the projectile and promoted himself to silver and for a moment, as the cameras focused on Stapley sealing his maiden World Cup win, Kiwi hearts sunk. After the frustration of missing the podium at World Cup Wollongong a week ago courtesy of an unlucky T2 penalty, had Reid also opened the door for fading Hungarian Mark Devay? Fortunately when the cameras switched back to the home straight, Reid had somehow regained his composure to claim 3rd.

The bronze medal was a 6th World Cup podium and perhaps the most precious of all as the former U23 world champion battles to get himself inside the top 30 of the Olympic Qualification Ranking to give New Zealand a chance of three starters in the July 30 individual men’s race in Paris.

Reid was 36th entering Chengdu but is set to scoop 427.81 points which should see him inside the top 30 when World Triathlon does the ranking recalculation overnight.

That will be eagerly anticipated, as is any Reid post-race interview. In Chengdu, he didn’t disappoint.

“Oh yeah, man, that was hard,” Reid, shaking as he normally does due to the rush of adrenaline, told World Triathlon’s Doug Gray.

“I could taste the win. I could taste it and then I started vomiting, I started tasting that.

“And yeah, I held on for third, but it was tough. Those last 500 metres, I was in the hurt box, it was really strange.

“I went from being, oh yeah, I’m comfy, I’m coming for this sprint, I’m coming hard, to Maxi just turning the pace up a little bit richer, and I was in a world of pain.”

At least you held on for third?

“I’m happier this week to be on the podium after missing out by this much [showing a small gap between a finger and thump to the camera] last week, but man…”

Racing a third weekend on the trot following his silver behind Matt Hauser at the Oceania Standard Distance Championships in Taupo before Wollongong, Reid raced to the tactics he’d discussed with coach Stephen Sheldrake in Chengdu. He stuck to Devay’s feet through the 1500m swim and was in a group of eight out on to the 40km bike that quickly whittled down to six.  

On the run, six became four and Reid remained patient, tagging himself onto the back of Schomburg, Devay and Stapley to stay out of the brisk wind. He looked poised to pounce until the puke beat him to it.

“It’s wicked to be on the podium with Maxi and Schomburg, done a fair time of working the trenches with them, so it was good to just lap it out on the bike hard. And yeah, we reaped the rewards of our hard work, so really happy.

“I was hiding in behind big Schomburg. He was good at blocking the wind, the big man, but yeah, I was hoping to wait for that sprint.

“I reckon I’ve got a pretty strong sprint. I know Maxi’s got a good sprint too, so I thought that’d be a fun way to finish it, but yeah, couldn’t quite get to the sprint, so maybe next time.”

Sheldrake was impressed with Reid’s patience and fight. And not just on the race course.

“Real proud of Tayler’s effort,” Sheldrake told

“It has been a big three weeks with Taupō, Wollongong and Chengdu. The racing is the easy bit; the travelling, getting visas to enter China, getting over a head cold earlier in the week, etc., are the bits no one sees an athlete go through.

“He now has 12 days to recover and get ready for [WTCS] Yokohama where he can go closer to helping secure New Zealand a third male spot. Today’s race will put him very close to, if not inside the all-important top 30.”

Nicole van der Kaay, meanwhile, finished 7th in the women’s race with a gutsy, trademark run.

The Kiwi fought back from 25th place and a 1min 31sec down out of T2 where her transition was slowed when her bike tipped over after she had originally racked it. It was just van der Kaay’s second start of 2024 and will leave her wanting more at WTCS Yokohama in a fortnight’s time.

Comments are closed.