Like Javier Gomez, Germany’s Anne Haug proved that she knows how to compete in Auckland. After taking the Grand Final win in Auckland last year, Haug opened the WTS season with another victory on the tough course.
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The swim and T1 proved to be important factors in the race. About 20 athletes charged out of transition to form the lead group. Over the course of the first couple of laps, a few athletes were dropped and Haug showed impressive cycling skills and caught up to the group.
As the bike race went on, that lead group finalized at 14 athletes and they worked together to build a gap over the chasers. By the 25K mark Alice Betto (ITA), Anja Knapp (GER), Charlotte McShane (AUS), Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS), Kate McIlroy (NZL), Haug, Nicky Samuels (NZL), Felicity Abram (AUS), Maaike Caelers (NED) and five others owned a lead of 1:24 over the next-best pack.
By the time bike turned to run, the lead stood at just over a minute. With fast runners Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) and Andrew Hewitt (NZL) coming in as part of the second group, the leaders ran hard to keep the lead as large as possible.
Abram, Caelers, Haug and McIlroy eventually broke away, with Abram doing most of the work at the front. Hometown favorite McIlroy also took her turn in the lead, but the effort proved to be too much for both athletes. As they approached the final kilometers, the pair faded and Haug and Caelers surged. Haug sprinted her way to the win in 2:08:19, with Caelers finishing in the silver position two seconds back. Abram held on for third.
It was a tough WTS season debut for some, with six DNFS including Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Emma Jackson (AUS) and Jodie Stimpson (GBR).
ITU World Triathlon Series Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand – April 6, 2013
1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
1. Anne Haug (GER) 2:08:19
2. Maaike Caelers (NED) 2:08:23
3. Felicity Abram (AUS) 2:08:33
4. Kate Mcilroy (NZL) 2:08:43
5. Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:09:25
6. Yuka Sato (JPN) 2:09:43
7. Jessica Harrison (FRA) 2:09:46
8. Juri Ide (JPN) 2:09:57
9. Charlotte Mcshane (AUS) 2:10:13
10. Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) 2:10:15