Braden Currie carved out his credibility in on-road racing today, convincingly winning the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo – in his debut attempt at half ironman racing since announcing his bid to gain New Zealand Olympic triathlon team selection last month.
The Red Bull endurance athlete turned around from a stunning off-road season (where he finished second in the World XTERRA championships) to beat a deep and powerful line-up of specialised 70.3 athletes in Taupo.
Wanaka-based Currie stormed home in 03:51:48, exactly 50 seconds ahead of Callum Millward, who was the runner-up at IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene. While Dylan McNeice, who was third at IRONMAN New Zealand rounded out the podium, further behind on 03:57:48.
For Currie it was proof that he has the speed to leave these in-form athletes behind and that the path he has chosen to pursue qualification for triathlon at the Rio Olympics is well within his phenomenal abilities.
“I’m so stoked. I have proved that I can go fast on-road and it was just really cool to pull this one off,” Currie says.
It was also encouraging that he was able to hold on to swim specialist McNeice for the majority of the swim.
“The first part of the swim, I really sunk it hard. Being close to that front bunch of three as we exited the (1.9km) swim made a big difference to my whole race.”
Using his trademark fleet feet, Currie managed to close the gap on the long run to the bike transition and by the top of the first long climb on the 90km time trial bike road ride he had caught the front riders, which included Mc Neice and top Kiwi half ironman athlete Graham O’Grady.
Non-drafting rules applied, so Currie decided to conserve energy rather than push for a break and it paid dividends as he hit transition for the 21.2km run.
“I just dropped it as fast as I could for the first 10km and put about a minute and a half on the others,” Currie says.
He had a blistering run time of 01:14:42 and maintained an average of 3.26km/h for about 15km before dropping to 3.36km/h near the end of the race. With a bike speed average of 42km/h, all the indicators are showing Currie will be right up there with the crème de la crème of Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km drafting road bike ride and 10km run) triathletes.
Having just finished the endurance phase of his training and with his speed work still to come, Currie looks set to be more than just an Olympic hopeful and more like a team member.
CAPTION Red Bull athlete Braden Currie enjoys the sweet success of winning the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IRONMAN Taupo 70.3 today. PHOTO CREDIT: Darryl Carey.
Braden Currie’s up-coming calendar
9 January: Port of Tauranga half ironman
23rd/24th January Red Bull Defiance
14th Feb – Kinloch Sprint distance Continental Cup
5th March: Wollongong Sprint Distance Continental Cup
19th March: Oceania Champs Gisborne Olympic Distance
2nd April New Plymouth Sprint Distance World cup or ASIA Pacific XTERRA Champs.
16th April NZ XTERRA Rotorua/NZ XTERRA Championships
22nd April Cape Town World Series Sprint Distance.
16th May Yokohama World Series Olympic Distance
August: Olympics if he makes it.
30th October XTERRA World Championships Maui
19th November ITU World Cross Tri Championships ACT Australia
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Braden Currie’s multisport campaign is made possible with the support of
Flight Centre Active Travel, Subaru of New Zealand, Specialized, 2XU and Red Bull