Triathlete Hewitt leads Kiwis in Austria

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 10:38 07/07/2013
Andrea Hewitt
Getty Images
GETTING BETTER: Andrea Hewitt has finished fourth in Austria.

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Andrea Hewitt has shown further signs she's returning to her best with a fourth-placed finish at the world triathlon series race in Austria today.

The 31-year-old from Christchurch suffered a concussion before the Auckland round of the series in early April which knocked her off stride, but she won a French Grand Prix race two weeks ago and has backed that up with her best world series result of the year.

Hewitt showed good determination to stay in touch with the leaders throughout most of the bike leg, only losing time in the final kilometre before making up places on the 2.5km run.

She posted one of the quickest run splits of the day as she closed fast on the podium, but ultimately ran out of real estate with German Anne Haug in her sights.

Wanaka's Nicky Samuels was also impressive, riding at or near the lead throughout the bike leg until the eventual race winner, Brit Jodie Stimpson, made the decisive break.

Samuels was among a chase group of three off the bike and while she couldn't match the leg speed of Australian Emma Jackson, who was second, and Haug, she ran strongly to hold off all but Hewitt.

Wellington's Kate McIlroy was unable to match the pace of the lead group on the bike and gradually lost time on the leaders, finishing 11th in the short but gruelling race above the picturesque Austrian alpine village of Kitzbuehel.

Meanwhile, Ryan Sissons completed an excellent race in the men's event, finishing fifth.

Sissons emerged mid pack after the 750m swim but rode patiently for the opening 5km of the bike leg before beginning to pick off those ahead of him, including current world No 1 Javier Gomez.

Tony Dodds was the next Kiwi home in 20th place while the bigger-framed Clark Ellice struggled on the bike and finished 49th on a day when the smaller athletes prevailed on the climb that at times reached 23 per cent gradient on the bike.Britain's Alistair Brownlee won the men's race.

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