Linyard cruises to win in inaugural Xtri

There's nobody as consistent as Jon Linyard on the Nelson triathlon scene. He does every race, regardless of what other demands he has on his time and, often as not, he's already biked the course pre-race to make sure it's all well marked.

It was business as usual yesterday, as Linyard won the inaugural Sport Tasman Xtri at Rabbit Island by a healthy margin of more than two minutes.

The Xtri format is an adaptation of the normal sprint triathlon format, but with a cross country bias.

Lisa Birkett led out of the water after the 750m swim, but Linyard managed to pluck an extra couple of seconds in the run up the beach to pass through the timing tent in the lead, with Ben Tuck close by in third.

Teenagers Luke Kelly and Hayden Squance, who gets taller every day, were next from the water, followed by Kirstin Ramsay, Matt Newberry, Micha Guedel and sponsor representative Nigel Muir, chief executive of race sponsor Sport Tasman.

Linyard has been involved in course design for the event, so unsurprisingly he ticked off the fastest bike time (32min 4sec) of the triathletes.

Lyndon Chandler was also slick on the bike (32.17), while Hayden Squance, away at adventure racing championships all week, came back to record the next-fastest bike split in 33min 33sec ahead of evergreen 52-year-old Wayne Leighton (33.52).

That all set things up for a good finish.

The run course was part track, part jungle, and part beach, the latter section growing more narrow with each minute as the tide rolled in to a gargantuan high.

Linyard had no worries - as usual, he left nothing on the course, cruising to victory in 1hr 4min 10sec.

Squance appeared to be in the clear as he emerged out of the beach haze, but Guedel - a fast-striding English language student from Switzerland - was closing fast. As they turned to complete the final 60m, Squance kicked hard, but Guedel narrowly took it in a race so close neither triathlete know which way it had gone until the referees made their decision.

Chandler was next, followed by Leighton, Kelly, and Kelly Barber.

Birkett built on her lead in the women's section on the bike course, but German exchange student Elisabeth Hilfenhaus cut it back by three minutes on the run to finish second, ahead of Gemma Franklin, Wendy Healey and Ramsay.

With a European bike contract under his belt for next season, Tom Filmer was on a roll, stretching out to a lead in the opening run leg of the duathlon option.

He easily brushed aside the opposition on the bike leg, recording 29min 9sec and went on to win by seven minutes from Grant Standing, ahead of Simon Bloomberg.

Soozie Trice, Suzanne Spencer, and Sandra Watts were all tightly bunched after the 2.5km opening run in the duathlon.

Watts made the decisive move in the two-lap bike course, building a minute lead and holding it on the final run to win the duathlon ahead of Trice and Spencer.

In the short triathlon, it was almost a blanket finish, with Sam Harrison taking it by six seconds from Brooke Mathseon, with Louise Kelly a second behind.

Ross Mitchell won the short duathlon after a time adjustment when some competitors took the wrong run course. Kim O'Hanlon and Jody Stow took the next places.


The Nelson Mail