Coast to Coast: Canterbury's Dougal Allan powers home for second title

Dougal Allan has powered his way to his second Coast to Coast 'Longest Day' title, after smashing the final cycle leg into Christchurch. 

After navigating 243km of gruelling terrain, the elite men's race came down to the wire, but Allan snuck home to win by 10 minutes over hometown favourite Sam Manson. 

The Wanaka native sped the last 69.5km cycle leg to Christchurch's New Brighton Beach to regain the title he won two years ago.

The event sees competitors run, bike and kayak the 243km race from Kumara Beach on the West Coast to New Brighton Beach.

Allan seemed unlikely to prevail for most of the day, as Manson dominated the run and kayak legs, before Allan - renowned for his cycling skills - overtook him early in the last ride, about 10km down South Eyre Road, and never looked back.

"I knew Dougal would be chasing me and the wind continued to pick up down the final bike ride," says Manson. "I just hoped that he would be further back and perhaps get a worse wind than me.

"Obviously, he still had a little bit more in the tank and did a really good job on that final ride."

Allan triumphed in 11h 9m 52s, finishing 10 minutes ahead of Manson.

"It was a lot harder today to be honest and it feels easily as good to win today, only because it took me 10 hours to take the lead," he says. "When you can’t see the athlete in front of you for 10 hours, it's too hard to believe that it's possible.

Elina Ussher and Simone Maier help each other across a river crossing
Elina Ussher and Simone Maier help each other across a river crossing. Photo credit: Photosport

"I think I'm probably more satisfied today from a mental standpoint."

In the women's contest, Simone Maier has given herself the perfect birthday present with her second title.

Maier, who turned 41 on Friday, finished in 12h 34m 49s, which was 15 minutes quicker than second-place finisher Elina Ussher. 

All Blacks great Richie McCaw teamed up with New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association boss Rob Nichol in the two-day tandem race. 

The pair completed the course in 13h 45m 30s, which was good enough for fourth in the men’s section  and second in the over-40 veteran category.

McCaw didn't have it all his own way, as he slipped on a rock and cut both his legs, which needed stitches, but he battled on to the finish. 

In the tandem event involves both competitors navigating the entire course over two days together, staying within 50 metres of each other on the bike and run sections, while paddling the Waimakariri River leg together in a double kayak.

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