Andrea Hewitt steps up to first WTS of the season, known for her consistency, she takes her first victory in 6 seasons. We talk to her after the race to find out more about her feelings and the meaning of the race.
How was the post Rio experience? Was there deception?
Yes, of course, I was gutted after the Olympic Games. I was annoyed, more than disappointed because I did the best I could on that day, but the feeling wasn’t there. Afterwards I got really sick but still tried to finish the season but once the big goal got lost, the focus was no longer there.
Did you question your intention to come back on the World Series Circuit? You could have decided to go long…
I don’t ask myself those questions. I have never had real thoughts about going long. It’s a completely different sport in my mind.
What did you expect in coming to Abu Dhabi?
My expectations are always high. But you never can know how the race is going to go before the race starts, so I just tried to think positively.
What was your impression with the new course? Did you feel that it was going to play in your favour?
I loved the new Yas Island Formula One circuit. The smooth track and tight cornering suits my style of racing.
The swim, you exit the water 40s back, what happened?
I have been focusing on my swim but none of that shown in Abu Dhabi. I was on the outside around the first buoys, so got pushed back further. I do have a black lip, so I got hit, but that’s what you get given when swimming back there.
On the bike did you panic or you quickly understand that with Jodie Stimpson, you were simply the strongest?
I was really excited to ride on the F1 circuit! I cut the motorbike off once because I like to swing those corners without braking so obviously my lines were different. I could see straight away our group was riding well and we were closing in fast on the front of the race, so there was never a panic. I had fun on the bike leg; I was happy to work with Jodie Stimpson to keep the pace high and it worked, we stayed away from the chase group.
With Jodie, you were the most active athletes on the bike and you didn’t get much help from the others… Did you have any doubt to give too much and pay for this later?
I was in control of my own race. I had a look around and the bunch was getting smaller. The others chose their own race tactics. Jodie was the most active on the bike, I want to thank her, she pushed right from the start.
How was the start of the run? What was your plan?
My plan was to stay up at the front of the race. I felt I got my rhythm on the straight section. I had to concentrate on the downhill and when the course was quite technical.
Did you expect the sprint? Is it the scenario you wanted?
I was in the moment. The last km straight I felt good but when Jodie took off before the corner I didn’t feel I could push that far out. I had warmed up on the finish line, so knew the distance. It was a special moment when I got past Jodie for the win just a few metres from the finish line.
What does this victory mean to you? Do you have the feeling to have broken a barrier?
Abu Dhabi was a very emotional victory. I keep thinking of Edmonton 2014 as my last race where I felt in control of the race. Whereas actually, my last World Series wins were in 2011 in Beijing and in Yokohama.
Laurent was believing in you, I bet it’s the best honor you can do for him, no?
You know, Laurent told me he believed he was a better coach than he was an athlete. I believed in everything he said. His knowledge is indescribable and will always put a smile on my face. His charisma and charm are in my results, it’s my honor.