Richard Murray crosses the finish line in New Plymouth, New Zealand on Sunday. Photo: Scott Tyler/ITU
NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand – Led by Richard Murray, South African triathletes continue to shine on the international scene and their latest success came in inclement weather conditions at the ITU World Cup in New Plymouth at the weekend.

In-form Murray motored to yet another win and Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman was fifth, as the latter continued his comeback after a health scare earlier in the season.

The two-time Olympian clocked 54min 37sec for the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run to beat runner-up Matthew McElroy of the US by six seconds.

Schoeman, who was hospitalised with a heart scare after the Abu Dhabi event earlier this year, took fifth in 54:52, and will be encouraged by his fighting back to form.

Murray’s win comes hard on the heels of his inaugural win in the Super League event in neighbouring Australia a few weeks back, an event which saw three days of consecutive racing.

Schoeman got stronger as that event went on and fought his way up to 11th spot.

“It was the wettest one yet,” Murray said immediately after the race. “I pulled my glasses on a whole bunch of times but then took them off because I couldn’t see.

“There was a lot of spray, the guys rode really well today. Henri and I tried to get away right before the end of the bike, and said I can’t let this one go.”

Schoeman said after Sunday’s race: “I’m happy that I was able to have a race feeling healthy. I wasn’t fresh and I could feel my legs burning during the race as I haven’t really rested.

“I’ll freshen up for the WTS Gold Coast this weekend. I tried to be aggressive on the bike, made a couple of moves and with my biggest move being brought back by Richard on the bike just before transition was a tough one to take for the legs.”

Yet again former world junior champion Wian Sullwald fell foul of health issues in the race build-up. “I was man-down all week with some sort of viral infection again, but I thought I’d at least give the race a go.

“I started off pretty well, but I could feel I wasn’t close to being my best, my chest was tight and nose blocked and the heart rate was going mad.”

In the women’s race, South Africa had two representatives in the shape of Gillian Sanders and Carlyn Fischer. America’s Katie Zeferes won in 59:28 as Sanders took 28th spot in 1:05:10 and Fischer was two slots back in 1:05:29.

It was a race Sanders wants to wipe from her memory banks sooner rather than later. It’s been well documented that Sanders prefers the sunshine to the cold, and with New Plymouth experiencing cold and wet conditions for more than a week it was always going to be against her.