Currie’s left leg lets him down
Wanaka’s Braden Currie was beaten on the line at the Xterra Pan America triathlon in Utah on Sunday, despite appearing to have won the race from US rival Josiah Middaugh.
In a bitter twist to the toughly fought race, Currie slid his right leg across the line but his timing chip was on his left leg.
Middaugh’s timing chip was first by 0.007 of a second in what proved to be the closest finish in Xterra’s 21 year history.
‘‘If only I knew which foot my timing chip was on,’’ a rueful Currie said after the race.
Middaugh’s winning time was 2h 20minutes:23.57secs
Currie, 30, led the field of 35 professional athletes until the last 5m.
Although disappointed, Currie said he had plenty of positives to take forward to the Xterra World Championships in Hawaii in October.
‘‘I intend to put everything into the next five weeks and our plan is to stay in Lake Tahoe after the Pan Am Champs and train. It is the best possible training environment I could hope for going into the Hawaiian event.’’
He was runner-up in Hawaii in 2015.
Currie is recovering from a recent calf strain and will concentrate on mountain biking, after having a largely road bike-focused past six months.
He swam with the top bunch of four and exited with them into the first transition.
He was first away on the steep 28km mountain bike ride, which featured 1036m of climbing and was an uphill slog.
‘‘This sort of big climbing course seems to suit me. I got to the Sardine Peak Trail summit (2225m) and this is where Josiah caught me last year, so my goal this year was to get there without him in sight, which I did,’’ Currie said.
After a technical descent Currie was 23 seconds ahead of Middaugh into the run transition.
He found the high altitude run at 1950m ‘‘pretty brutal’’.
Middaugh started to gain ground on his rival during the last descent, and in the final 5m edged alongside Currie, who in desperation drove the wrong leg forward.
Currie’s next races at the World Xterra Championships on October 23.
He has races in China and Australia in November before returning to New Zealand for races in Taupo and Tauranga and the Red Bull Defiance.