TRINZ – Corbidge wins, Dodds second at ITU Oceania Cup

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Geelong, Australia (February 10, 2013) – Kiwi Sophie Corbridge and a Frenchman coached by an Australian have stolen the show at the URBAN Geelong ITU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup events today.

Parisian Gregory Rouault made it back-to-back Geelong wins for France after Olympian Laurent Vidal’s victory in last year’s men’s race while emerging Kiwi star Sophie Corbidge from Auckland was triumphant in the women’s.

A member of the Canberra-based Darren Smith international squad, Rouault waited until the third and final run lap to pounce and he was never going to be headed. Rouault scooted clear with two-time Kiwi National Sprint champion Tony Dodds and local Geelong boy Peter Kerr trying desperately to hunt him down. Rouault was happy to play a waiting game in the 750m (swim), 20km (cycle) and 5km (run) course after Victorian youngster Marcel Walkington tried to steal the race off the front in the early stages of the run. Walkington and fellow Australians Troy Main and Ben Anderson came together for the final stages of the bike after Walkington powered away in the early laps. But when it came to the business end of the helter-skelter five kilometre run it was experience that told with the internationals powering away.

Rouault, from Poissy on the outskirts of Paris, admitted he is not a fantastic swimmer but with the pressure on he came out alongside the leaders after the 750m swim.

“I just joined the Darren Smith group in Canberra and we have been working on lots of different things so this race was good to check in and see how everything was going,” said Rouault. “Obviously the swim is moving forward so I am happy with that and I haven’t worked much on the bike and run so I am excited about that.

“I just sat there on the bike and waited for the run and controlled a bit of the run and picked it up and I knew Tony (Dodds) would be part of the chase group so I pulled back a bit before I made my move. Peter (Kerr) was behind too so I had to watch out but I am happy with today’s result.”

In the end it was Rouault in 55 minutes 33 seconds who held on to beat Dodds (55.46) and Kerr (55.54) just holding on down the long Geelong straight to take third and the Australian Championship. But his floundering legs only just managed to get the popular local boy across the line ahead of fast-finishing fellow Australians, Sydney’s Northern Beaches’ Cameron Good (55.55) and Launceston’s Jacob Birtwhistle (55.55), who were awarded the silver and bronze medals respectively in the Australian Championships.

Corbidge, who is coached by Peter Bennett and has just been named in the New Zealand Development squad for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio was happy to make her move on run after Australia’s Gillian Backhouse led the field off the bike and into the run. She sat comfortably in the eight-strong chase pack alongside fellow Kiwi Maddie Dillon and Rebecca Clarke, Japan’s Yuko Takahashi and Australian girls Grace Musgrove, AYOF Champion Jaz Hedgeland, Olympian Emma Jackson, swim leader Madison Allen and Sarah Deuble.

And it was obvious why the New Zealand selectors have slated Corbidge (1:01.52) for their Rio plans when she charged away with the fastest run of the day (17 minutes 02 secs) to hold off 20-year Musgrove (1:02.03) who finished with the silver with Takahashi (1:02.16) third. Corbidge said she enjoyed the Geelong course and she was thrilled to take the win across the Tasman, saying “it (the course) was a bit of a mix of everything and quite technical.”

“We got into a good rhythm and worked well together around the corners and the run was awesome,” said Corbidge.

Maddie Dillon raced superbly for 6th place while Rebecca Kingsford came home 8th after recovering from a first lap crash on the bike.

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