12 Mar 2011

Gemmell claims Oceania triathlon

5:35 pm on 12 March 2011

Palmerston North's Kris Gemmell has repeated his win at the ITU Oceania Triathlon Championships in Wellington, leading virtually the entire way.

Unlike last year when Gemmell was pipped by Frenchman Laurent Vidal, who was ineligible to win the Oceania title, Gemmell won the event outright from Australian Aaron Royle and fellow New Zealander Ryan Sissons, who claimed the Under-23 title in coming home third overall.

Great Britain's Vicky Holland continued her love affair with New Zealand this summer, taking out the final round of the women's Tri Series.

But the British triathlete wasn't eligible for either theNew Zealand championship or the ITU Oceania Championships honour, so despite backing up from her Takapuna victory last month, Holland and second place getter Vendula Frintova of the Czech Republic had to watch Australian Ashleigh Gentle take the Oceania title from third place.

Best of the New Zealanders was 20-year-old Tirau triathlete Rebecca Kingsford, who also won the Oceania Under-23 title in coming home sixth overall at the tape.

Compatriot and world number six Andrea Hewitt had no luck, the defending champion comfortably in the lead group early on the bike, only to stop twice, first to check what appeared to be a puncture and then again a lap later when her rear tyre exploded in spectacular fashion.

Hewitt lost over three minutes but carried on to finish in sixth in the elite women, thanks to the fourth fastest run split of the day.

World number 16 triathlete Debbie Tanner was a late inclusion and finished seventh behind Hewitt.