(Image: Phil Walter / Getty Images)
New Zealanders took five out of six medals at Challenge Wanaka last weekend, with Dylan McNeice and Candice Hammond taking first place in perfect conditions on the South Island.
McNeice set a new swim course record of 46:25mins on a glass-smooth Lake Wanaka, and managed to build up a lead of more than 6mins over his nearest rivals during the bike. He eventually crossed the line in 8:38:48, beating course record holder Richard Ussher (NZL) into second place (8:49:50) and Dougal Allan (NZL) into third (8:54:38).
Hammond meanwhile exited the water in eighth place, more than ten minutes behind last year’s winner Gina Crawford, but managed to claw back a 23-second lead by T2. She held off Crawford throughout the 42.2km run to cross the line in 9:33:54, followed by Crawford in 9:41:09. Simone Maier (GER) took bronze with 9:48:51.
“There’s no such thing as perfection but that was as close I think as I’ll ever get,” said McNeice afterwards. “I was really surprised I was holding around that seven-minute gap. It gave me a big boost of confidence and even coming into the last 30 to 40k of the bike I had good legs and thought I can hold this and have a good run.”
Over 2,000 athletes took part in the Challenge Wanaka Triathlon Festival last weekend – full results here.