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Joanna Brown earns first world cup medal of her career at New Plymouth world cup

Brown's silver medal in a time of 59:29 was just a second behind winner Katie Zaferes.

Joanna Brown won silver at yesterday’s New Plymouth World Cup in a thrilling sprint to the finish line with overall winner Katie Zaferes. Brown’s career-first world cup medal comes just weeks after her win at the Sarasota CAMTRI cup, proving she’s back on top after some rough years of injury and is a force on the women’s ITU circuit right now.

Zaferes was in the lead group out of the non-wetsuit swim, which was key for the 2016 Olympian, however it was fellow American Cook that lead out from Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL), Alice Betto, Kirsten Kasper (USA) and Yuko Takahashi (JPN).

“I love wetsuit swims but also enjoy the cold, I find that to be a strength, so it gave me some confidence knowing it would be a bit chilly and it’s not the perfect condition, I kind of do better in that,” said Zaferes.

The drizzling rain ensured bike-handling skills were crucial on this technical course but the women didn’t hold back.

In the early stages of the 20-kilometre bike there was just 10 seconds that separated the top 20 women, Spivey and Claire Michel (BEL) were doing a far bit of the work up front with True.

Initially local favourite Andrew Hewitt (NZL) was just 12 seconds off the pace but fell way back to the eventual chase group 2+mins behind. It was clear they were not going to bridge the gap today and the medals would come from the front group.

On the bell lap there was still no holding back for the leaders and coming into T2 it was a group of 20 contenders but Takahashi was first onto the run course.

On the first of three laps the group was whittled away to just 8 with Michel surging to the front and Kasper, Cook, Brown, Takahashi, Rachel Klamer (NED) and Zaferes in contact. Brown had given herself a goal today and that was to be on the podium.

“The whole last part of the run I was just telling myself I had to get on the podium so I could get on the podium to do the interview.”

In the final stages Zaferes made an error taking a slight wrong turn and the American had to work hard to reconnect with the group.

But she knows how to win on this course and not afraid of the what’s happening around her. She certainly kept her focus in those final stages to secure her second win at New Plymouth.

“I like to compete scared, I don’t know what it going on behind me I like to pretend everybody is there, keeps me constantly going forward.”

“My last world cup race was here and there’s were I won, so it was pretty cool to come back.”

Brown was delighted with her first World Cup podium and return to form after a long few years in the wilderness.

“This isn’t rain it’s tears I’m just so happy about the podium.”

“I have so many people to thank for being here. It’s been a really long couple of years getting back into shape.”

In the men’s race, Xavier Grenier-Talavera clocked the fastest Canadian men’s time with 14th while South Africa’s Richard Murray continued his winning streak for gold.