Mahe Drysdale wins the Billy Webb Challenge

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 15:46 09/12/2012

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Mahe Drysdale showed even on minimal training and pondering retirement he's a class above when winning the Billy Webb Challenge on the Whanganui River today.

The men's single sculls gold medalist at this year's London Olympics headed home Nathan Cohen and Sweden's Lassi Karonen, while Australia's Kim Crow captured the women's title.

Drysdale has given himself until Christmas to decide if he will continue to row with the 2016 Olympics his major goal should he return, but showed over the 5km he can still beat a top-class field, which featured three fellow NZ gold medalists from London in Cohen, Eric Murray (fourth) and Joseph Sullivan (fifth).

''It was pretty tough. It was a real battle right throughout between Lassi, me and Nathan, right to the end," Drysdale said.

''Lassi led out early, I managed to get through at about the halfway stage but never opened up a big enough gap to feel comfortable.''

Double Olympic medallist Crow dominated the women's race to head home the Kiwi trio of Fi Bourke, Sarah Gray and Zoe Stevenson.

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