London-bound Kate McIlroy and Nicky Samuels both came away with impressive results at the latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series at Hamburg, Germany this morning.
Wellington's McIlroy battled hard in her last hit-out before the Olympics to secure eighth place, while Samuels used the event to test some race options and finished 15th. Olympic reserve Debbie Tanner also finished mid-field in 25th position.
The third member of the New Zealand Olympic women's triathlon team - medal favoruite Andrea Hewitt - opted not to race in Hamburg and remains at her training base in Sete, France.
McIlroy was pleased with her performance less than two weeks out from the women's Olympic race.
"I was really happy with my race overall today and I wanted to have a really solid hit-out," she said. "One of my key focuses was to have a good swim and to come out in the lead group, which I did.
"I had a good strong run - it was fast, but I was happy with how I went. The field was good today; a few key athletes for London were missing, but it still gives me a lot of confidence.
"Of course, it's all geared towards winning a medal and that's what I've been training for."
Meanwhile, Samuels used the Hamburg race to test out some different things that will ultimately make her stronger in London.
"I had a strong swim and worked on the bike early, but it didn't quite go to plan," she said. "My plan in the first kilometre of the run was to go at max and see if I could recover.
"It didn't really work out, so the rest of the run was quite hard. The result didn't matter - it was just about trying things and seeing what will work and what won't in London.
"Training is on track. I've done all the hard yards, so it's all about freshening up and working hard on the run."
While not racing in Hamburg, Hewitt still kept an eye on the results from afar and said she was looking forward to another fast race in London.
"I decided I wouldn't race in Hamburg," she said. "I'd keep training and get everything 100 percent before I go to London.
"I went for a run during the race, but I saw the results after - all the girls ran really fast. A lot of races have sprint finishes now, so I'm trying to prepare for that and I know London will be a fast race, so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Triathlon New Zealand national coach Greg Fraine said the women came through the race very well and were able to try out some tactical options that may be important during the Olympic event.
Fraine said the Hamburg race was ideally placed less than two weeks out from London and it served as a transition from general build-up to becoming solely focussed on the Games.
"Everyone came through really well - Nicky and Kate were impressive today. Nicky was experimenting with some race options and Kate wanted a good hard blowout before London.
"One of the things we try and encourage is decision making, and something all three Olympic athletes are good at is assessing the situation and reacting. They're all on track, the confidence is good and they're looking forward to the challenge."