“FAR from my best, but not disastrous”, that was how former Kinross Wolaroi triathlete Tamsyn Moana-Veale summed the performance which landed her fifth place in the Chengdu International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup event on Saturday.
As more than 100,000 spectators turned out to watch the first ITU event staged in China since 2007, Moana-Veale gave herself a chance of a podium finish as she joined fellow Australian Gillian Backhouse in setting the tempo early in the run leg.
However, she was unable to keep up the pace and finished 54 seconds off third place with an overall time of two hours, two minutes and 40 seconds.
It was Backhouse who took out the win in warm and muggy conditions, a strong run leg seeing her cross the line well clear of her closet rivals with a time of 2:01.04.
“In terms of career performances, this is the absolute best for me by a mile. My previous best at an ITU World Cup was 15th. It is not a complete surprise though, training has been going really well over the past month, my coach and I were hoping for a top five, but to win is just absolutely amazing,” she said.
“The conditions were pretty much perfect for us today. The smog has cleared up a bit today, when we first got here I was a bit worried, but it is much, much clearer today and great for competing.”
The event opened with a 1500 metre swim and, while the water was a somewhat chilly 21.3 degrees, competitors did not wear wetsuits.
That worked in favour of the stronger swimmers and while the leg was dominated by Chinese hopefuls, Moana-Veale was able to stay in touch.
Her split of 20 minutes, 15 seconds saw her 11th out of the water and meant she was in a good position heading into the 40 kilometre cycle.
She was part of a 15-strong group that gradually worked clear of the rest of the field as they worked well together, their advantage almost two minutes as they headed into the transition zone.
Moana-Veale covered the distance in one hour, two minutes, 40 seconds - the 12th quickest split in the field - and was quickly off her bike and into the run.
It was Backhouse and Moana-Veale who set the pace early, but Backhouse then pulled away.
American Jess Broderick, who went on to place second, had moved ahead of Moana-Veale by the five kilometre mark, but the Bathurst talent was still hopeful of holding on for third.
However, behind her Belgium’s Claire Michel and Australian Lisa Perterer were making up ground as they surged through the chase group.
Michel went on to clock the quickest run of the day to take third place while Peterer crossed the finish line 17 seconds ahead of Moana-Veale.
It took Moana-Veale 37.55 to complete the run leg, a discipline which is usually a strength for the triathlete.