McNeice, Crawford take Wanaka
Written by: TimothyCarlson
Date: Sat Jan 19 2013
McNeice, an Olympic distance triathlete whose previous best long course result was a 3rd at Singapore 70.3, took the race by the throat with a powerful swim and held on to finish in 8:51:18 with a 4:25 margin over runner-up and 2010 Challenge Wanaka winner Jamie Whyte and a 6:47 advantage on third-place finisher and two-time Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack.
“I can’t believe I was out front the whole way,” said McNeice. “I had to fight off Jamie on the run but I was feeling good and I can’t find the words to explain how happy I am.”
McNeice blasted out of the blocks with a 47:56 swim which gave him a 3:42 lead on super-swimmer and 4-time Ironman champion Bryan Rhodes, 7:09 on Jamie Whyte, 7:11 on Australian legend McCormack and 11:13 on fellow Kiwi Keegan Williams.
McNeice, who honed his game training with a Santa Cruz, California squad that includes Bevan Docherty and Paul Matthews, held his ground with a 4th-best 4:58:14 bike split that led him to T2 with a 1:37 lead on Whyte (4:52:42 bike), 2:15 on Rhodes (4:56:47 bike), 7:41 on McCormack (4:58:44 bike) and 9 minutes flat on Williams (4:56:01 bike).
On the run, McNeice said he took the first few kilometers easy until Whyte showed up on his shoulder. “At that point, I gave up on that plan and went flat out the rest of the way,” said McNeice. Sure enough, McNeice took off again and finished with a 3rd-fastest 2:59:59 marathon while Whyte faded to a 3:03:45 run.
“After falling 7 minutes back on the swim, I went really hard on the bike,” said Whyte on Challenge Wanaka live internet coverage. “I surged a little too hard on the run that was a little too hard at that stage.”
After a sub-par 4:58:44 bike split, McCormack held third with a 2nd-best 2:59:52 marathon.
“This course was spectacular, but jeez I hurt out there,” said McCormack. “I was cursing the wind, cursing the hills and I got beat by two very good guys. I underestimated how fit you have to be to win here – but I won’t make that mistake next year.”
Crawford came into this race with five World Triathlon Corporation Ironman victories, 5 Ironman-distance Challenge wins and a recent Ironman 70.3 win at Port of Tauranga. She took charge from the start. Her race-best 59:14 swim gave her a 32 seconds lead on 7-time Ironman New Zealand champion Jo Lawn, 1:24 on Kate Bevilaqua, 2:48 on Julia Grant, 3:39 on Jodie Scott and, most significantly, 7:38 on Candice Hammond and 13:56 on local triathlete Simone Maier.
Crawford then put the hammer down with a race-best 5:08:30 bike split which 12 minutes faster than Maier, 14:37 better than Hammond and 15:50 better than Jo Lawn while Julia Grant withdrew.
Hammond made a surge and posted the day’s best 3:09:43 run which only cut 1:24 from Crawford’s massive T2 lead. By the end, Crawford broke her own race record with a 9:24:31 clocking which gave her a 19:51 margin of victory. Hammond needed every second of her fleet marathon to take the runner-up slot as her 9:44:22 finish topped 3rd-place Jo Lawn by a mere 8 seconds.
“I felt very emotional at the finish,” said Crawford. “Earlier this week I got a stomach bug and wasn’t sure I could race. I felt very weak, but decided to go ahead. I felt OK at the start, but I wasn’t sure how I would feel after 9 hours of racing. As it turned out, I had an amazing bike and I’m very happy to win my 5th time here.”
Wanaka, New Zealand
January 19, 2013
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 8:51:18
2. Jamie Whyte (NZL) 8:55:43
3. Chris McCormack (AUS) 8:58:05
4. Keegan Williams (NZL) 8:59:50
5. Bryan Rhodes (NZL) 9:04:12
6. Carl Read (NZL) 9:08:23
7. Axel Reiser (NZL) 9:44:28
8. Leon Griffin (AUS) 9:51:14
1. Gina Crawford (NZL) 9:24:31* race record
2. Candice Hammond (NZL) 9:44:22
3. Jo Lawn (NZL) 9:44:30
4. Simone Maier (NZL) 9:51:23
Dylan McNeice, a 27-year-old New Zealander who struggled for success at the Olympic distance, found long course his strength with a win over the legendary Macca and fellow Kiwi Jamie Whyte at Challenge Wanaka. 1.30.13
Graham O’Grady outran Terenzo Bozzone and Gina Crawford topped Candice Hammond to win the men’s and women’s overall titles at the Port of Tauranga Half Ironman Saturday in New Zealand. 1.04.13
Australia’s Aaron Farlow dominated defending champion Jamie Whyte of New Zealand and Kiwi Gina Crawford edged Britta Martin of Germany to win Challenge Wanaka Saturday. 1.20.12
Kiwi Jamie Whyte was first out of the water at the 2011 Challenge Wanaka and held on for his first win at this distance. Belinda Granger took charge of the women's race and earned her second Challenge Wanaka title. 1.14.11