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New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup - 25th March 2018

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25 March 2018

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The next generation of Kiwi triathletes put their hands up in a big way at the Quality Hotel Plymouth International Triathlon World Cup today, with Nicole van der Kaay and Sam Ward collecting silver medals on a superb day of racing in front of huge crowds at Ngamotu Beach.


While the gold medals went to Kirsten Kasper (USA) and Declan Wilson (AUS), the biggest cheers were reserved for the young Kiwis, with 22-year-old van der Kaay well and truly stepping out of the shadow of Andrea Hewitt with her first ever World Cup podium while Ward backed up after a fourth place finish at the Mooloolaba World Cup a fortnight back.


The women’s race was played out to a background of rain showers that made the technical bike course dangerous to take risks on, with Emma Jeffcoat (AUS) the highest profile casualty, falling on the hairpin turn heading into transition, the Mooloolaba winner would soldier on but finish off the pace.


Kasper was first out of the water and often on the front during the bike leg, toying with a solo breakaway before being reeled in by a chase pack that included van der Kaay, Hewitt and fellow Kiwis Sophie Corbidge and Elise Salt.


Once on to the run it was a head to head battle between the American and the young Kiwi, with van der Kaay sticking to the heels of Kasper throughout, only fading in the final 200 metres as the experienced American powered to the win, with van der Kaay delighted in her silver medal and a breakthrough performance.


“It was awesome, the support on home soil, I can’t thank them enough, the cheering the whole way around was amazing. This is an incredible breakthrough for me, this past year I have been around the 4th, 5th and 6th area so it is awesome to crack the podium and do it here on home soil.”


The Taupo athlete credited her coach with instilling the belief in her ahead of today’s race, one that sees her head to the Commonwealth Games full of confidence.

“My coach gave me a few tips, said be aggressive and believe in myself, I just went for it, it was awesome to be able to run with her. It was an epic final hit out, ten days now before the Commonwealth Games so this is a huge boost for sure.”


Kasper loved every minute of the experience, even if the crowd was cheering for the young lady in black.


“This is my fourth week in a row racing, so I am pleased to come away with the win. These huge crowds were supporting Nicole the whole way, I was trying to feed off that support and energy, it was exciting to see her up with me, she made me work really hard for it.”


Claire Michel ran superbly into the bronze medal, repeating her performance of 2017, the Belgian athlete came through the pack after trailing the lead pack in off the bike, with a slow transition to the run in the end the difference in the colour of medal on the day.


Declan Wilson was a popular winner of the men’s race, one that had numerous different scenario’s playing out, with Kiwi Tayler Reid leading out of the water. The Gisborne athlete did not have sufficient support early int eh bike however, and his lead group of four were quickly swallowed up by the chasers forming a large lead group.

Ryan Baillie (AUS) then risked it all, clearing out on the final lap to establish a 15 second lead on to the run, but he was quickly reeled in by Wilson, before a huge scrap developed for the silver and bronze medals, with Ward spectacularly sprinting to silver, leaving Matt McElroy (USA) with another bronze to add to the silver he collected here last year.


“I was super hungry after coming fourth two weeks ago in Mooloolaba, I think the crowd was the difference on a day like today and powered me home to second place,” said Ward. “I was just trying to save myself, I was hurting but just sticking to them and saving myself for that one sprint. That helped me out with the others being a bit indecisive with their attacks, but the home crowd got me home definitely.


“Conditions were perfect, couldn’t have asked for better in the ‘Naki, the bike was tough and technical, and the run was just awesome, a highlight of my career, second in a World Cup at home, there is nothing better so far for sure.”


Wilson was delighted with his win, suggesting it has been some time in the making.


“I wanted that ever since 2013 when I won the U23 World Champs bronze, since then I have been floundering around for the past five years, I am so happy with that. I just thought I had a good tempo on the run so tried to hurt the boys at the start. I thought the others might think ‘he won’t hold on’ especially on recent results.


“Coming into the last lap up the hill I gave it everything, I saw the big screen and thought ‘yeah I have a bit of space’, I was running scared the whole time but so glad I won it. This would be the single biggest victory of my career, I am so happy.”


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In the earlier WIL Sport Oceania Championships, the New Zealand women won gold and silver with Hannah Knighton and Ari Graham standing proudly on the podium. With Canadian Desirae Ridenour winning the race but not eligible for the Oceania medals or titles, the gold went to Knighton with Graham winning silver ahead of Australian Romy Wolstencroft in third.


In the Junior Men’s race it was an Australian trifecta, with Lorcan Redmond taking gold ahead of the Schofield twins Luke and Jayden. Best of the Kiwis was Dylan McCullough in fourth, who in the process booked a place at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games as the highest finishing eligible (U18) New Zealander.


Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup

Sprint 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run


Gold Declan Wilson, Australia, 58:20 Silver Sam Ward, New Zealand, 58:22 Bronze Matt McElroy, USA, 58:24

Full Results CLICK HERE


Gold Kirsten Kasper, USA, 1:03:20
Silver, Nicole van der Kaay, New Zealand, 1:03:28
Bronze, Claire Michel, Belgium, 1:03:37

Full results, CLICK HERE


WIL Sport Oceania Junior Championships

Junior Men

Gold Lorcan Redmond, Australia, 1:00:17
Silver Luke Schofield, Australia, 1:00:24
Bronze Jayden Schofield, Australia, 1:00:37

Full Results CLICK HERE

Junior Women (note the race was won by Desirae Ridenour (Canada) who is not eligible for the Oceania medals)

Gold Hannah Knighton, New Zealand, 1:07:46
Silver Ari Graham, New Zealand, 1:09:00
Bronze Romy Wolstencroft, Australia, 1:10:14

Full Results CLICK HERE




If you cannot join us on race day be one of 1000's watching the live-stream of the race - click on the following link to watch

Livestream Link


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22 March 2018


For the eighth time in ITU history, the elite triathletes of the world head to the iconic coastal city of New Plymouth for the 2018 Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU Triathlon World Cup.

The Kiwi city will host the third stop on the World Cup circuit this year. Both the women’s and men’s start lists are stacked with experience slated to compete in the hopes of joining the New Plymouth record books already stacked with some of the greatest names the sport has seen.

The 2018 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup is a sprint distance triathlon covering a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. The event will be held at Ngamotu Beach and the surrounding scenic roads of Taranaki.

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For the full ITU elite World Cup preview, CLICK HERE

The event is made possible thanks to the support of Venture Taranaki, Quality Hotel Plymouth International, TSB Community Trust, WIL Sport.

Live Streaming in New Zealand

Racing will be live streamed in New Zealand, for the link CLICK HERE

For all event partners and sponsors, CLICK HERE

Event Schedule, including WIL Sport Oceania Junior Championships on Sunday morning, CLICK HERE

Full elite men’s start list, CLICK HERE

Full elite women’s start list CLICK HERE




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19 March 2018




New Zealanders will be out in force at the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU Triathlon World Cup in New Plymouth this weekend, with a strong contingent led by superstar Andrea Hewitt lining up in the only ITU World Cup race held in New Zealand.


As well as the host of elite athletes competing on Sunday afternoon on a revamped course (the bike leg has changed), there will a strong representation in the WIL Sport Oceania Junior Championships on the same course, earlier on the Sunday morning.


Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Director Mark Elliott is excited about the chance for the New Zealand athletes to test themselves in the ‘blue carpet’ environment of a World Cup, just two weeks out from the Commonwealth Games.


“It is the only time in New Zealand that we get on the blue carpet, it is always great for athletes to race in front of their home crowds on such an occasion. Not only the elites in the World Cup races, but with the juniors racing in the WIL Sport Oceania Championships on the same course against a quality Australian team. They can see where they sit in the rankings as far as times and effort on a tough course, for us it is a chance to see the young athletes putting hands up with a little more competition around.”


The undoubted number one billing again goes to the indefatigable Andrea Hewitt. The 35-year-old ended 2017 ranked 4th in the world and is showing no signs of losing the spark that has seen her consistently rate amongst the very best in the world.


Hewitt has been training in Canterbury over the summer, and Elliott says she is as focused as ever on enjoying a great year.


“Andrea has been training consistently and has taken on board some changes and adaptations. Some experienced athletes know what works for them as it is often tried and true, and that is fine. But Andrea has been open to different ways of training and racing and new opportunities. We will progress that over time, especially with the mixed team relay format going forward, Andrea has been open to the potential positive impact that format can have on her career as well.”


Elliott says athletes will have individual goals and objectives on Sunday, as each looks to execute a specific race plan.


“Timing is interesting for the athletes - in different ways. It is a good final hit-out for those going to the Commonwealth Games, but you don’t want that hit-out to adversely affect their pinnacle event which is two weeks later. For someone like Sam Ward who raced well in Mooloolaba, he has had a great summer of training and for him to be competitive and perhaps on the podium in New Plymouth would highlight that strong work and gains he has made over the summer.”


Of the Commonwealth Games bound athletes, Hewitt and van der Kaay lead the way for the women, with Tayler Reid lining up for the men.


“Our Games athletes have processes to work through specifically around run and bike leading into the Gold Coast. For those racing purely as a World Cup, it becomes an important race for ITU points and to have a really strong race to put into practice the hard work they have put in over summer.”


Elliott says the shorter distance in New Plymouth this weekend is perfect for those heading to the Gold Coast.


“Athletes love to race though, you never say never, and it is the great thing about the sprint distance. There is no harm in going full-gas, if Tayler is up the road with a couple of key guys, he will want to know what it is like to put in that big effort on the bike and be strong on the run. So, all things going well they can put in a massive effort and have the two weeks to recovery, but the initial goal is to achieve their goals over swim and bike and then see how the race is unfolding.”


Elliott is cautiously optimistic about the progress he is seeing within the Tri NZ High Performance environment, and says it is the result of a change in training focus at their base in Cambridge.


“What I like is that they have started showing positive performance behaviours consistently. They are committing to training under load, they are committed to the assessment that follows and taking that on board and using that information to get better. That is starting to show in their racing, I expected both Sam and Nicole to race well in Mooloolaba as they are two of the group that have had really good training blocks and committed to everything in Cambridge which is a credit to them.


“Tayler is the same but has perhaps pushed harder than the other two as he can afford to, with a few weeks now to freshen up before Gold Coast, but they have all done the hard work, it is great to see that effort and they all have a base that I didn’t see this time last year.”


Elliott is however not getting carried away, suggesting that occasions such as the racing on Sunday is the chance for athletes to put that hard work into a racing environment and get the results they are after.


“We are seeing a consistency of training which generally correlates well to a consistency of racing, and that will come. We are doing a lot of training that is racing specific. As opposed to just doing speed work or strength work, we are doing that work with race specificity and we are seeing guys taking a hard look at themselves after last year and understanding the work they had to do over the most recent summer, and while not alone, those three athletes (Nicole, Sam, Tayler) in particular are leading the way in that regard.”


Fans will have the chance to see the Kiwi athletes taking on the world on Sunday, with spectator entry to the event free of charge, with live video screens, grandstands and great viewing of the transition area at Ngamotu Beach, with multiple lap bike and run courses bringing the athletes to the crowd on multiple occasions.


New Zealanders at the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU Triathlon World Cup



Sunday 25th March
Midday start

Andrea Hewitt, Canterbury
Nicole van der Kaay, Taupo
Rebecca Spence, Auckland
Sophie Corbidge, Auckland
Deb Lynch, Porirua
Elise Salt, Auckland
Ainsley Thorpe, Auckland

Full elite women’s start list,  CLICK HERE



Sunday 25th March
2pm start

Tayler Reid, Gisborne
Sam Ward, Auckland
Kyle Smith, Taupo
Hayden Wilde, Whakatane
Liam Ward, Auckland
Trent Thorpe, Auckland
Dan Hoy, Auckland

Full elite men’s start list,  CLICK HERE


March 6th, 2018




The 2018 Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup has received a boost on three fronts, with renewed support from naming rights partner Quality Hotel Plymouth International, a new partnership with the American based Global Sports Mentoring Programme and a naming rights partner for the WIL Sport OTU Oceania Junior Triathlon Championships.


Quality Hotel Plymouth International has committed to the event for another year as naming rights partner, doing so on the back of the coverage the event generates for the region, not to mention the influx of visitors to New Plymouth for the event.


Event Director Shanelle Barrett is delighted with the ongoing support from Quality Hotel and says the March 25th event is also well supported by Venture Taranaki and TSB Community Trust.


“The Quality Hotel Plymouth International World Cup has always been well supported throughout the New Plymouth Community, as much for the showcase of world class triathlon that is absolutely free for spectators, but for the work we do with the schools and community around the actual race.


“Venture Taranaki and TSB Community Trust have been pivotal to that activity, and once again this year we have a comprehensive programme of athlete visits to local schools and community groups, as we look to engage with the children and inspire them to be physically fit and active – regardless of what sport or activity that might be.”


A truly international event, the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup Triathlon is one that continues to put the region on the map thanks to significant media coverage, something not lost on Venture Taranaki.


“Venture Taranaki has been behind this event from its inaugural visit to Taranaki in November 2005,” says Chief Executive Stuart Trundle.


“The benefits of welcoming some of the world’s top triathletes include a high level of engagement and inspiration our own potential athletes and achievers, and a high level of international media coverage which reinforces Lonely Planet’s judgement that Taranaki is one of the world’s top regional destinations.”




In a new partnership, Global Sports Mentoring Programme will support the event. An initiative created by the U.S. Department of State, implemented alongside programme partners espnW and the University of Tennessee Centre for Sport, Peace and Society.


Barret says the funding is targeted towards a specific project at the New Plymouth event.


“With the support of Global Sports Mentoring Programme, we have created the Tri New Plymouth Female Mentoring Programme, which will create mentoring opportunities for female officials, volunteers, event organisers and media through the ITU Triathlon World Cup.


“The goal is to increase the percentage of female officials and event management staff at the event and consequently generate greater participation of young women and girls in all aspects of sport while gaining recognition for female officials in the public eye.  You don’t need to compete to be a part of sport, there are so many other roles at an event that females can be involved with.”




And to cap off a great couple of weeks for the March 25th event, WIL Sport has stepped up as naming rights partner to the Oceania Junior Championship races, underlining their existing support of the sport and young athletes.

Phil and Cheryl London started WIL Sports 18 years ago in a very much philanthropic support of young athletes.


“We do not sell anything and athletes we support do not have to repay any money back to us. Nor do we ‘clip the ticket’ on anything they may earn in the future. Our philosophy is simply to help provide a pathway for talented athletes to reach their potential. Whether that ends up been at a club, national or international level. Support isn’t always financial but may be connecting with right coaches or mentors to take them to the next level.”


Both are keen sports people themselves and know the challenges that young athletes can face. Their support extends now to over 300 athletes in a variety of sports, but they do have a close association with triathlon and have worked with emerging elite New Zealand athlete Nicole van der Kaay for some years.


“WIL Sport has brought us into contact with many different sporting organisations and so allows us to make some comparisons on how they have each adapted to the rapidly changing sporting environment. We get to see how those sports prepare and fund their athletes for higher honours.


“We get our reward from seeing young New Zealand athletes test themselves on the world stage and in many cases, share their excitement as they stand on the podium. But it is also seeing them mature as individuals as they get to express themselves in their chosen sport. We don’t set out to make champions – but provide a pathway to see what it takes to become a champion. Athletes soon find out if they have what it takes to reach the top.”


The WIL Sport OTU Oceania Junior Triathlon Championship events will take place on the Sunday morning, March 25th, prior to the ITU World Cup sprint races for elite women and men.



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Photo credit: Scott Taylor/ITU, Richard Murray wins his third title in a row in 2017 

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Photo credit: Scott Taylor/ITU, Katie Zaferes conquers the rain to win in 2017