New Zealand’s emerging triathlon talent performed with distinction at the inaugural ITU World Cup in Karlovy in the Czech Republic.
Gisborne’s Tayler Reid grabbed his first ITU World Cup elite podium, finishing third in the men’s race with Taupo’s Nicole van der Kaay fourth in the elite women’s race.
Reid, 20, was able to follow Slovakian star Richard Varga out of the swim, forming a group of five riders which managed to break clear, and they retained their advantage on the multi-lap bike course. The chasers closed to 30 seconds off the bike.
As the runners pushed through in the form of Norway’s Gustav Iden and Italy’s Alessandro Fabian, the young Kiwi found himself back in fourth. He dug deep in the spring to claim his first World cup podium.
“I didn’t give my dad a Father’s Day present, so here you are, dad,” he said after the race. “I am overwhelmed.
“I was fourth with 2kms to go and I thought that I really want this bad, so I kept pushing. I passed Varga and the last 1km was hell for me. But I didn’t want to finish fourth. Everyone hates getting fourth, it’s the worst position ever, so I am so happy all the hard work has paid off.”
Australian Gillian Backhouse led from the start of the women’s race, first out of the swim with American Summer Cook, and then soloed away on the bike and held on to win in 2:03:29. Local Czech athlete Vendula Fintova, buoyed by the home crowd, ran through to second for her first world Cup podium since New Plymouth two years ago.
Cook held on for third as van der Kaay, who was part of the chase group on the bike, managed to edge out Australians Emma Jackson in the sprint finish for fourth.
Attention now turns to the climax of the year with the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam in two weeks.
Results, Elite Men:
Gustav Iden (NOR) 1:49:06, 1; Alessandro Fabian (ITA) 1:49:39, 2; Tayler Reid (NZL) 1:50:22 (16:54, 58:37, 33:34), 3. Also NZers: Liam Ward dnf
Women: Gillian Backhouse (AUS) 2:03:29, 1; Vendula Frintova (CZE) 2:04:31, 2; Summer Cook (USA) 2:04:56, 3. Also NZers: Nicole van der Kaay 2:05.27 19:24, 1:07:58, 36:36), 4; Elizabeth Stannard 2:09:42, 17.