New Zealand’s Dylan McNeice has again made his mark on the international triathlon circuit as he took his second major title in only his second long distance race at this weekend’s Challenge Taiwan. Meanwhile Belinda Granger (AUS) won the women’s race, claiming her 15th long distance victory in the process.
McNeice’s two from two win proved that his victory at January’s Challenge Wanaka was no fluke as once he again he led from start to finish. The 27-year-old asserted himself early on, leading a competitive field by over three minutes out of the swim in 47:00 and never relinquishing his lead, taking the title in 8:16:21. Germany’s Georg Potrebitsch and Australia’s Todd Skipworth were second and third.
McNiece was disbelieving of his win. "I was running and I was at the front and I thought, 'Geez I've been at the front all day again today. This is just what people are going to always expect of me!' It really is a hard way to race. It's a good way to race because you're always in control and it's your own race and your own pace, but today and in Wanaka both I suffered the last 10k. I was stopping and walking, I started cramping and my stomach was a mess."
Gritty win for Granger
The women's race featured an equally dominant champion, with Belinda Granger (AUS) claiming her 15th title in 47 career long-course finishes.
Fresh off of a two-week training camp in Phuket, Granger initially seemed too far in arrears to set the first women's course record in Taitung. She exited the water 6:23 back from notably strong swimmer Hillary Biscay (USA) and 4:50 from fellow Australian Kate Bevilaqua. But the swim deficit only served to light a stronger than usual fire underneath the already powerful cyclist, and by T2 Granger's 4:55:34 bike split propelled her to the women's lead.
"My swim was shocking," admitted Granger, "But sometimes that's a blessing in disguise. It makes you kick it up a notch, where when you have a really good swim you can become complacent. So I had to chase from the start. Hats off to Hillary, she was having a storming bike and I didn't catch her until 60k. Then she stayed with me, legally, until 90k. The only reason I got rid of her is because I knew she would stop for her special needs bag. I don't use special needs on the bike so I took off like a maniac!"
Granger's ride, followed by an equally strong run, built a comfortable buffer over Biscay, and she posting a winning time of 9:23:15. Biscay held tough on both the bike and the run, finishing in 9:37:40 for second place. Kate Bevilaqua rounded out the women's podium, despite struggling with stomach issues throughout the bike leg.
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