Hayden Wilde scored his third career World Triathlon Championship Series win on a rain-slicked day in Yokohama, writes Lisa Pringle.
The Olympic bronze and Commonwealth Games silver medallist had one of his best swims in the past few months, emerging from the 1.5-kilometre swim to get onto the lead group on the bike. The Kiwi then took pulls at the front over the next 40 kilometres and made a lightning-fast transition onto the 10-kilometre run. He then put on the afterburners early to leave the rest of the field in his wake and take the top spot comfortably.
Wilde now rises up the WTCS rankings 40 places to sixth, after initially getting on the board at 46th in Abu Dhabi last March.
“In Abu Dhabi, I had a mechanical and I didn’t get to show what I had so today I wanted to come out here and give it some,” he said. “I couldn’t believe the swim I had… I got into a really nice position and got on the front with Leo (Bergere) and company, so it was good. I really wanted to go quick and I was on pace quite nicely. I wanted to push a little bit more but I know in two weeks I’ve got Cagliari against Alex (Yee) so just wanted to ease it a bit because I didn’t want to be too cooked for that.”
Georgia Taylor Brown was happy to finish 7th as she continues her progress in the right direction. The Brit acknowledges she is lacking some swim speed but is working on it. Henri Schoeman also notched up a top 10 finish to move up the rankings. The South African has had a hectic start to the racing season, and just dropped off the pace in the last 5km in Yokohama.
Also in Yokohama, Lauren Parker continued her dominance of paratriathlon by scoring her 10th straight win in two years. The three-time World Triathlon Para Series champion, two-time Ironman world champion and Paralympic silver medallist from Australia overcame a wetsuit wardrobe mishap that cost her two minutes in the transition between swim and bike to win the day by over a minute to Paralympic gold medallist Kendall Gretsch.
Over in sunny Staffordshire, Alistair Brownlee lined up for the first edition of Xterra Weston Park putting his offroad skills to use in his Xterra debut. The dual Olympic gold medallist emerged from the swim in front, then faced off against Frenchman Maxim Chane on the bike trail in a game of cat and mouse that saw them swap positions over the two-lap course. While Brownlee was second onto the run, his superior foot speed and fell running prowess honed over years in the Yorkshire hills catapulted him out front to log the day’s fastest run and break the tape. With this win he has also secured a spot at the Xterra World Championship which is set for September in Molveno, Italy.