Dodds 'stoked' to win tri series' hometown leg

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 19/01/2013
Tony Dodds
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
WINNING FEELING: Tony Dodds celebrates winning the Wanaka leg of the Contact Tri Series yesterday.

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After being rushed to a French hospital with appendicitis last year, the new year has brought much better luck for professional triathlete Tony Dodds.

The three-time New Zealand under-23 champion claimed his hometown event, the Wanaka leg of the Contact Tri Series, last night, heading home a field that included Olympian Ryan Sissons.

"I'm bloody stoked to do that," Dodds said.

Dodds arranges for additional prizemoney from local businesses to be added into the pot for the Wanaka event to entice a strong men's field.

While he will be donating the $10,000 to Cystic Fibrosis Southland, he was also sparing a thought for the riders in the strong lead group, including Southlanders Robert Huisman and Aaron Barclay, who helped him get away from Sissons.

Sissons would cramp early in the run to spoil any chance he had of running Dodds down, while Mike Phillips ran home for second and Bryce McMaster made ground on the run for third.

Huisman, who had been ill in the leadup to the race, was fourth, while Barclay, in his first elite race after a long injury layoff, was fifth and reported no pain from his shins, which have caused him significant issues.

London Olympian Kate McIlroy comfortably won from a disappointing women's field, weakened by the withdrawal of Andrea Hewitt, with Wanaka's Nicky Samuels finishing second and Rebecca Kingsford third.

Meanwhile, heavy rain in the Southern Lakes region in recent weeks has forced a course change on Challenge Wanaka organisers, with part of the run section around the Outlet having to be diverted from Gunn Rd to Outlet Rd today.

The change will take out a steeper section of the run, but an extra loop had been added to make sure the run remained at 42km.

That won't be bothering Wanaka GP Andrew McLeod, who started on an epic journey yesterday afternoon that he hopes will see him do double the length of a traditional iron-distance race.

McLeod was cheered off by a big crowd of family, colleagues and other supporters as he started a 7.6km swim, which will be followed by a 360km bike ride.

He will be starting his 84km run about the same time as the Challenge Wanaka individual competitors are beginning their swim.

At the sharp end of the race, defending champion Gina Crawford will be chasing a fifth Challenge Wanaka crown, against a field that includes Joanna Lawn.

Southland competitor Jamie Whyte, a winner in 2011 and runner-up last year, is part of a men's field that includes triathlon great Chris McCormack.

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- The Southland Times

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