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New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone and Russia’s Eva Potuckova earned the wins at Saturday’s Challenge Taiwan race in tropical Taitung.
New Zealand’s Dylan McNeice did what he does best and set up a 1:10 lead after the 1.2-mile swim held in the clear and calm water reservoir. Eric Watson (AUS) led the next group out that included Bozzone, Hamish Hammond (NZL) and Mike Phillips (NZL).
Bozzone and Phillips quickly set about reducing the gap to McNeice and the three came together just 20km into the rolling bike leg. The New Zealand trio continued to forge ahead of the chasers, remaining in contact for the entire bike leg and hitting T2 within seconds of each other.
Once onto the run, former world champion Bozzone hit his stride and the lead, remaining uncontested for the 21.1 km run and earned the victory at 3:52:41. Phillips crossed the finish line just over 4 minutes later, with McNeice earning third.
“This was great, it was a tough day, I started running backwards at the last 3km I was just thankful I had a bit of space on Mike and Dylan,” Bozzone said at the finish line. “It’s great to be hear in Taitung, I’d just like to thank everyone for the great support out there, what a great course, what a great community and thanks for having me.”
Brooke Langereis was the first to emerge from the water, but Potuckova was just a few steps behind heading into T1.
Out onto the bike, Potuckova started to build into her race and tempo, forging a minute lead from Langereis at the 20km mark. Kathryn Haesner, in her first professional race, was over three minutes behind. Langereis rallied and bridged up to Potuckova at the halfway mark, while Haesner was also making up time and sliced a minute off her deficit.
In the later stages Potuckova again surged and coming into the final changeover had a 1:26 lead over Langereis. Haesner was next to arrive, reducing her gap to the leaders to just 28 seconds and putting herself in a good position heading onto the run. But it was the experience of the 37-year-old Russian who remained composed despite the battle behind her to grab her first win of the season. Haesner and Langereis ran shoulder to shoulder in the first half of the run, but Langereis eventually fell off the pace to leave Haesner to claim the silver on her debut as a professional.
“I’ve been here for two weeks now recovering and getting ready for this race after Ironman Taiwan. I really loved the bike course and just very happy to hang on for the win today,” said Potuckova
Taitung, Taiwan – April 25, 2015
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:52:41
2. Mike Phillips (NZL) 3:56:42
3. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 3:56:53
4. Mitchell Kibby (AUS) 4:07:03
5. Mitchell Robins (AUS) 4:13:28
1. Eva Potuckova (RUS) 4:41:14
2. Kathryn Haesner (NZL) 4:42:48
3. Brooke Langereis (AUS) 4:47:21
4. Monica Torres (PHI) 4:50:02
5. Jodie Scott (AUS) 5:15:58