Cross country skiers triumphant in Winter Triathlon Champs

Published: Sun 28 Aug 2011 12:15 PM
Cross country skiers triumphant in Winter Triathlon Championships
SNOW FARM, New Zealand (August 27, 2011) – International triathletes, multisporters and world champion cross country skiers went head to head for the New Zealand and Oceania Winter Triathlon Championships at the Snow Farm today.
A fresh dusting of snow overnight and clear skies provided the ideal conditions for the race featuring a 6.9km run, 12km bike and a 9.5km cross country ski, all on hard packed and groomed snow with the women athletes far out numbering the male competitors.
The strong field of male athlete’s created an exciting race as they jostled for the lead position throughout. One of New Zealand’s top cross country skiers Andrew Pohl was first off the run and on to the bike leg with experienced triathlete Axel Reiser (NZL) a few seconds behind.
Renowned local multisporter Gavin Mason (NZL) worked hard on the bike leg climbing up the field during the six-lap course. On the final lap Mason overtook Pohl to lead out of transition on to the ski leg. It was always going to be a tough lead to maintain with the skill and power of Pohl on his skis just behind him. Pohl made easy work of the 9.5km ski leg and completed the race in 01:39:29, Mason crossed the line just under six minutes behind. Reiser took third place in 01:47:05.
Andrew Pohl was thrilled with his win in the tough sport of winter triathlon, “I have had a big week of training and was pushed hard in this race. If knew that if I held on behind Gavin during the bike I could confidently complete the ski leg and get back in the lead. I am now looking forward to my rest week before heading off overseas for the northern hemisphere season,” Pohl said.
World number one female cross country skier, Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) blitzed the women’s, and men’s, field in her first ever winter triathlon. She was the first female in from the run and despite a broken bike and racing with no cleats completed the bike section well ahead of the other females. Her world class form on the skis pushed her through the bulk of the men’s field to finish second overall behind Pohl. She crossed the line in 01:45:23, local athlete Joanna Williams (IRL) was second in 02:01:48 with Jess Simpson (NZL), also from Wanaka, in third.
Kowalczyk said today’s race was testing, “It is a very demanding sport, I put my focus on the ski leg and over taking the men’s field. It was good fun and perhaps I will try the sport again. I have had a fantastic time here at the Snow Farm during the Winter Games, good conditions and good training,” she said.
100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games concludes tomorrow (August 28) with the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Halfpipe at Cardrona, the curling finals at Maniototo Curling International in Naseby and speed skating in Dunedin.

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