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TRIATHLON 28 July 2003, 9:26 AM

Watson makes successful triathlon return

Christchurch’s Craig Watson made an outstanding return to topline triathlon in finishing second in the eighth round of the ITU World Cup in Manchester today.

The French-based Watson, who has been out of the sport at the top level since the Commonwealth Games last year, made a successful return to the same course on the Salford Quays today.

Watson, who has seen his former World No 1 ranking slip to 22, was narrowly pipped by Englishman Andrew Johns in a sprint finish over the Lowry Bridge in an exciting race.

American Seth Wealing and Englishman Stuart Hays forced their way clear of a 50-strong bunch on the six-lap bike in cool and misty conditions in Manchester.

But Watson, Johns and fellow Englishman Tim Don, already a world cup winner this year, cut through the field to mow down Hays near the end of the 10km run after Wealing was forced out with cramp.

They dropped Don before Johns managed to outkick Watson to win by 20m with Martin Krnavek (Ceech Republic) kicking home for third.

Former Kiwi Paul Amey, now racing for Great Britain, was 13th.

Australian-based Kiwi Heather Evans, fourth in the course at the Commonwealth Games, suffered from mechanical problems forcing her out on the bike.

Meanwhile Taupo’s Fiona Docherty finished fourth in the ITU International race in Germany with fellow Kiwi Shane Reed eighth.

Across the Atlantic Ironman New Zealand champion Joanna Lawn was in second place after the bike with the marathon run to come in Ironman USA at Lake Placid today.

She dropped off the lead after fierce head winds and rain hit on the second lap of the 180km bike to be two minutes behind American Karen Holloway with the 42.2 km marathon run remaining.


ITU World Cup, Round 8, Manchester:

Men: Andrew Johns (GBR) 1:53.50, 1; Craig Watson (NZL) 1:53.53, 2; Martin Krnavek (Czech Republic) 1:54.00, 3.

Women: Pip Taylor (Aus) 2:03.05, 1; Carol Montgomery (Can) 2:03.57, 2; Joelle Franzmann (Ger) 2:04.03, 3. Heather Evans (NZL) dnf.

ITU International, Schliersee, Germany:

Women: Marina Damlaimcourt (Esp) 2:21.27, 1; Eva Brambock (Aut) 2:23.06, 2; Mieke Suys (Bel) 2:25.10, 3; Fiona Docherty (NZL) 2:25.53, 4.

Men: Hector Ilanos (ESP) 2:02.51, 1; Andrea D’Alquino (Ita) 2:03.05, 2; Faris Al Sultan (Ger) 2:03.55, 3; Shane Reed (NZL) 2:05.09, 8.



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