Young New Zealand Triathlete Claims World Championship Title
Monday, 28 August 2017, 9:59 AM
New Zealand has a new triathlon World Champion with Waikato’s Kyle Smith winning the under-23 title at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in Canada.
The Matamata triathlete finished third overall in the combined men’s final staged at Penticton, and in doing so also secured the under- 23 crown.
Smith led the field stacked with former world championship medallists out of the 1.5km swim in Okanagan Lake ahead of Ben Allen (AUS), Bruce Daubord (FRA), and defending champion Ruben Ruzafa and Francisco Serrano (MEX).
Ruzafa pushed to lead on the 31km bike over single track trails through the forests to open a 30-second advantage on to the run over Allen, Smith, and Serrano.
Serrano caught Ruzafa on the 8km run over rolling hills and winding trails to claim the title with Smith able to break away from the Australian to claim third overall and the under-23 title.
Smith, who moved to the Cross Triathlon competition to further improve his skills in triathlon, was delighted with his performance.
“I’m stoked beyond words with the result today,” Smith said. “I had no idea I was capable of that result and this being only my second cross tri race I was pretty relaxed with little focus on the outcome and just wanted to enjoy the experience racing with the big guys in the sport.
“I found my rhythm early and got clear water for most of the swim and rode my own tempo on the first part of the bike course to open up a gap but Ruzafa caught me on the last climb on the steep rocky parts.
“I had a small crash on the technical descent but jumped back up and pushed on. I ran my own pace on the run and was stoked with this outcome.”
Canada’s Melanie McQuaid won the women’s title.
Result, ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship, elite men (1.5km swim 31km bike 8km run): Francisco Serrano (MEX) 2:09.25, 1; Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:09.36, 2; Kyle Smith (2:10.16) 3.