CAPE TOWN - Local swim-cycle-run star Richard Murray raced to his second consecutive Discovery Triathlon World Cup Cape Town title on Sunday with countryman Henri Schoeman following behind him in second place.
Murray finished first in a time of 52.15 with Schoeman following 24 seconds behind him with Lukas Pertl of Austria bagging bronze in 52.49.
“It was a great race, on the bike I felt good and composed and everything ran like clockwork and on the run I went full gas at the start,” Murray said.
“Henri came for the first about 800 metres so he really pushed at the start and I really had to dig to keep him off my heels.”
Murray said racing on home soil added some pressure to the race while he also looked to have a decent start to the season ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April.
“To start the season off with a win and to hear the South African anthem play is very cool,” he said.
“We will race the Commonwealth over the same distance and we will swim without a wetsuit but it will be the next big focus.”
Schoeman was first out of the water but found himself among lead bunch on the cycle leg.
While the swim is not traditionally his strong suit, Murray was trailing 17 seconds going into the transition.
“I had a pretty reasonable swim and I was pretty happy with it and that is obviously the big focus for me,” Murray said.
“On the bike I managed to close the gap after I had a bit of a fumble in the transition ... but I managed to compose myself and caught up with them earlier than I did last year on the bike.”
Schoeman said the first part of the run with Murray was at a "deadly pace" and gave him some food for thought and work to do ahead of the Commonwealth.
“A podium is always fantastic and a second place behind Richard, who is a great athlete is a good start for the season,” Schoeman said.
“I can be happy with my current form, I have a few things To work on but there is time for that.”
New Zealand-based Simone Ackermann nearly had a fairy tale finish at her first race on home soil representing South Africa in the women’s elite race.
The East London-born Ackermann earned her best result in International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cups finishing in fourth place.
“You really want to show you can race well here at home and for me it was quite an important race to do well in,” Ackermann said.
“Because this is my first race here I really wanted to race well in the South African colours that was important to me.”
It was a British 1-2 with Vicky Holland taking the spoils in a time of 58.18 with compatriot Non Stanford following behind her in 58.52.
Hungary’s Zsanett Bragmayer completed the podium in 59.07 with Ackermann 21 seconds behind.
“I got into a good position on the swim and tried to hold it where I could and then on the bike the girls in front were really impressive and I think that is what really got us away,” Ackermann said.
“My goal was to have a good swim and bike so I wasn’t too worried about the run."