Top ranked Stimpson eyes up her opposition

MURRAY HILLS
Last updated 11:05 22/03/2014

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Great Britain's Jodie Stimpson is the top ranked women on the start list for tomorrow's ITU World Cup sprint triathlon in New Plymouth but she's quick to point out who the mains dangers are.

Ranked three in the world, Stimpson described the New Plymouth course as fast.

"It's definitely a worker's course, it will be hard from go. The swim will be choppy, the bike's undulating and on the run it will be who's got the legs left," she said yesterday.

"To be honest, it's my first race of the year and it will be good to tick the boxes and have a good performance. It's a chance to brush away the cobwebs and have a good day."

Stimpson said there were a lot of strong swimmers in the field.

"The swim will be key. With Lucy Hall and Sarah Groff, it will be a fast swim. The person to watch will be Helen Jenkins from Great Britain. It's her first race since she finished fifth at the Olympics. She's definitely a tough racer. It's her first race back from injury."

Stimpson said she was pleased with her buildup for the race over the sprint distance of 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

"Everything has been ticking along nicely. It will be good to see where I'm at. My training has been going well. We've been in Wanaka for two and a half weeks. It's been awesome, it's the most beautiful place, absolutely stunning. We're heading back down there before racing in Auckland," Stimpson said.

"My main goal this year is the Commonwealth Games. I've been held back by my coach, it's definitely been hard ... limited intensity to make sure I don't peak too early."

Two-time Olympian Andrea Hewitt carries New Zealand's hopes in the race, but she has struggled in New Plymouth in the past.

"I've raced three times in New Plymouth but haven't gone so well. My very first World Cup race was there in 2005 and I finished 21st. I raced there in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, I didn't race because I was sick," he said.

"It's good to be back. My buildup in the off season has been good, everything is on track. I'm building up for the Commonwealth Games ... that's the main goal for me this year."

Hewitt raced at Mooloolaba last Sunday finishing fifth.

"I was back after the swim and caught up on the bike but never got near the front on the run. If you're playing catchup, you're working harder than the ones up front."

Hewitt said there were so many variables when it came to the swim.

"I know I can swim, I'm not a slow swimmer, but things don't always go to plan in the water."

American Sarah Groff and Maaike Caelers from the Netherlands are both ranked in the top 10 and should fight out the podium spots.

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Other leading chances are Australian Emma Jackson and Italy's Alice Betto, while Kiwi Nicky Samuels, Japan's Yuka Sato and Chile's Barbara Riveros could surprise.

- Fairfax Media

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