Home support helps, says Hewitt
Fri, 19 Oct 2012 7:14p.m.
By Robert Lowe
New Zealand's top female triathlete, Andrea Hewitt, will feed off the huge home support in Auckland on Saturday as she strives to win the world championship series grand final for the second year in a row.
Hewitt came up trumps in the corresponding race in Beijing last year, beating the season's best field to claim a victory that propelled her to the series' runner-up spot behind Britain's Helen Jenkins.
Two months later, in November, she took out a lower-tier World Cup event in Auckland, where she was lifted by the fans on the course.
"Home crowd advantage is definitely a help," she said on Friday.
"Last year, the crowds were amazing. There were so many people out there, so much support. Hopefully it will be the same tomorrow."
The 30-year-old Cantabrian will go into this year's grand final sitting fourth on the points table.
To climb to top, she will need to win, and then hope the two main contenders - series leader Erin Densham of Australia and Swede Lisa Norden - finish down the field.
The Auckland course is a tough one, with the 40km bike ride made up of eight laps of a circuit that has three climbs.
Hewitt said some of the competitors who were not in the World Cup race could get a surprise.
"I remember last year just looking at the time and it was ticking over two hours and we still had two laps to go on the run," she said.
"The distance is the same, but the toughness of the course makes it a really long race."
For Hewitt, the swim will be important to her chances as she wants to be in the front group on the cycle leg.
"Then I've just got to see what I've got left on the run," she said.
"My running form is good at the moment and everything leading up to this race has gone well, so fingers crossed."
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