With a number of big names including Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez and IRONMAN World Championship podium finisher Braden Currie on the start line at IRONMAN 70.3 Tasmania last weekend, the racing was always going to be exciting.
Unfortunately for some of the leading names, however, avoiding a mechanical malfunction or a crash in the wet conditions proved to be one of the biggest challenges, as both Currie and Gomez failed to finish.
Fortunately for Australian rising star Nick Thompson, the eventual race winner, a combination of strength and skill saw him take the tape ahead of fellow Aussies Mitch Kibby and hometown hero Cameron Wurf.
A testing but beautiful course in Tasmania
Having come into transition with a sizeable lead, Thompson had the legs to keep it together on the run and record a fourth consecutive podium in Tasmania, with a win that he said was tougher than it looked.
“I feel great now that it’s over, it’s a really beautiful course but it’s really testing, testing conditions as well. I wasn’t feeling too flash but it’s a tough bike course and I think everyone is feeling the same.
“I think it was Cam [Wurf] who said you don’t really know where you’re at this time of the year after Christmas and New Year and I probably wasn’t feeling the best I’ve ever felt but everybody is probably in the same boat.
“It was more about just keep on going, one step, one pedal stroke. The atmosphere was great down here in Tassie, especially along Salamanca and the pier.”
“It was really nice that she let me hang around”
As well as the win and a big slice of the prize money, Thompson said one of the best things he got to take away from the race was the experience of running with former IRONMAN World Champion Chelsea Sodaro.
“I actually got to run a lap or two with the lead female Chelsea [Sodaro], I was right behind her and it was really nice that she let me hang around.
“It was really nice to run with her, she’s a World Champion, a year ago I never would have thought I’d be running with the World Champion so that’s pretty cool!”
Having only started out as a professional last year, Thompson has a bright future ahead of him and is set to race again in a fortnight at Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand.