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Javier Gomez disqualified as Jack Moody smashes Tauranga Half course record

Chelsea Sodaro and Javier Gomez get 2024 seasons underway at Tauranga Half in New Zealand.

Staff Reporter
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Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez was unable to get his season off to a winning start this weekend in New Zealand, as mechanical issues hampered the Spaniard before a subsequent disqualification at the 35th edition of the Tauranga Half.

2017 IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Gomez, who is coached by Kiwi Dr Dan Plews, was joined by former IRONMAN World Champion Chelsea Sodaro on the start line at Mount Maunganui, who also shares the same coach.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be on race day for either former world champions, with home favourite Jack Moody taking the win in the men’s race and compatriot Hannah Berry taking the women’s crown.

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Moody sprints clear for well deserved win

Whilst Gomez was looking strong at the front of the race following the swim, reported issues with his handlebars saw him drop back. And while he crossed the line in third place, five minutes behind the front two, he was subsequently marked as a ‘DSQ’ on the results, the second frustrating race in a row for the 40-year-old who was a ‘DNF’ at IRONMAN 70.3 Taupo last month. On that occasion he was given the first drafting penalty of his career on the bike before a puncture ended his race.

In his absence, Moody and Christchurch native Mike Phillips battled it out at the front, with Phillips building up a solid lead on the bike before Moody slowly whittled away at it over the course of the run.

Having finished on the podium here in each of the previous five editions, but never won, Moody was desperate for the win and with a lightning quick final kick, just pipped Phillips to the line.

Jack Moody wins XTERRA Rotoroa 2023
[Photo credit: XTERRA]

Obliterating Braden Currie’s course record from last season, Moody has now finished on the podium at seven straight races on home soil and will look to demonstrate his talents further afield as the 2024 season gets underway.

Berry holds off Sodaro in thrilling race

In the women’s race, Berry executed her race plan to perfection to hold off a fast finishing Sodaro, with the two-time previous winner building an insurmountable lead over the course of the swim and bike.

Having put over a minute and a half into Sodaro over the course of the swim alongside fellow Kiwi Rebecca Clarke, the leading duo continued to build their lead on the bike. Starting the run, the gap was +6:42 back to Sodaro.

Despite the challenge ahead of her coming out of T2, Sodaro fought admirably the whole way round the run, eventually just running out of real estate having passed Els Visser and Clarke to move into second but with Berry taking the tape.

Tauranga Half 2024 Results

Pro Men

  • 1. Jack Moody (NZL) – 3:33:33
  • 2. Mike Phillips (NZL) – 3:33:44
  • 3. Ben Hamilton (NZL)) – 3:39:40
  • 4. Scott Harpham (NZL) – 3:40:33
  • 5. Simon Cochrane (NZL) – 3:42:24

Pro Women

  • 1. Hannah Berry (NZL) – 3:58:48
  • 2. Chelsea Sodaro (USA) – 3:59:43
  • 3. Els Visser (NED) – 4:03:22
  • 4. Rebecca Clarke (NZL) – 4:07:41
  • 5. Deborah Fuller (NZL) – 4:13:53
Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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