Pleased as punch: Richard Murray won the Cape Town leg of the Triathlon World Cup at his third attempt on Sunday, to lead a South African one-two-three. Picture: PETER HEEGER /GALLO IMAGES
Pleased as punch: Richard Murray won the Cape Town leg of the Triathlon World Cup at his third attempt on Sunday, to lead a South African one-two-three. Picture: PETER HEEGER /GALLO IMAGES

Richard Murray led a SA one-two-three in the Discovery Triathlon World Cup here on Saturday and Sunday to ensure that the national flag flew all weekend.

It was the perfect start to the season for Murray, a first dramatic victory at the Cape Town race at the third time of asking for the Durbanville athlete.

He celebrated by hugging Henri Schoeman and Wian Sulland, who were second and third, the first time South Africans had filled all three spots on a World Cup podium.

There had been a moment of worry when Murray was given a 10-second penalty for a transition area infraction. His coach had alerted him to the penalty and he upped his pace to stretch the gap. He won in 51min 33sec, with Schoeman eight seconds behind. Sullwald came home in 51.56.

"Third time’s the charm, they say. I finally got it today," said Murray, who missed 2016’s event after breaking his collar bone and smashing his knuckles in a bicycle crash during a the Gold Coast leg of the international triathlon calendar.

"When I heard about that penalty though … I thought it was a 15-second penalty and I knew the gap to Henri was not that big, so I was pressured. That was the hardest I pushed myself in the first race of the season ever. So happy though to finally get the win in Cape Town.

"Our shoes are usually placed on the left of the box, but this time the shoes were inside the box so I just threw the helmet aside and I think it was a bit of a fault from the event organisers. I thought I might lose this one due to the penalty, which would have been sad, but I’m very happy with the way it ended up," he said.

Earlier this week Murray had been asked about his "rivalry" with Schoeman and joked that it had been manufactured by the media after Schoeman had won bronze in Rio just ahead of the fourth-placed Murray. "I took him out for tequila shots when he won the Grand Final in Cozumel last year."

Schoeman said: "I’m happy with my race. The form is good. I made that one mistake going out on the run when I pushed too hard to follow Richard. I went in the red a bit too early so I could not push harder at the end when Richard served his penalty.

"I thought I might have a chance, but my legs were feeling like lead at that stage."

Britain’s Lucy Hall was full of smiles after she won her first World Cup race, beating training partner Jessica Learmonth. Japan’s Ai Ueda was third. Hall and Learmonth took the lead immediately after the swim and stayed away until the end.

Murray’s girlfriend, Rachel Klamer of Holland, was third at one stage, but was passed in the run and finished fourth.

"I’m turning 25 next week and I always said that if I can get a World Cup podium before I am 25 then I will be happy," said Hall, who had made a pact with her friend during the run that they would start sprinting only when they reached the blue carpet that led to the finish line.

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