Challenge Wanaka race director Jane Sharman.

The transition from one discipline to another is key to success in triathlon — something Jane Sharman knows well.

Sharman made the leap from competitor to Challenge Wanaka race director last year, and as of the weekend, has her first Integrity Homes Challenge Wanaka Festival of Triathlon under her belt.

‘‘It’s been really interesting for me, really challenging for me,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve been well supported by the Challenge Wanaka Sports Trust trustees and also the contract staff that I have, so yeah big learning curve.

‘‘I’ve already learnt a lot this week so already looking forward to next year and to what we can do to make it even better for everyone.’’

About 2800 competitors of various ages and abilities took part in the week’s events, from toddlers right through to professional athletes.

On Friday night, hundreds lined the Wanaka lakefront to watch 76 elite athletes from around the world battle it out in the Tri NZ Oceania Cup.

Italy quickly proved to be the team to beat, with Ilaria Zane claiming the women’s race early in the evening.

The world No 45 admitted to struggling on the 18km bike ride, however maintained a solid lead in the 5km run, crossing the line in a final time of 53min 49sec.

In the men’s event, Italian Alessio Crociani and New Zealander Dylan McCullough fought for pole position, trading places throughout the cycle portion.

Built different . . . Ilaria Zane, of Italy, competes in the Oceania Triathlon. Zane won the elite women’s race. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Crociani was issued a 10sec penalty over a bike dismount, narrowing his lead in the run and forcing him to go on the attack.

Despite the setback, the Italian held his lead, crossing the line in a time of 47min 33sec.

The week culminated with the Challenge Wanaka Half on Saturday — a middle-distance course comprising of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run.

Victory . . .Els Visser, of the Netherlands, moments after she won the women’s 2024 Challenge Wanaka. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Dutch triathlete Els Visser shook off the disappointment of last year’s second placing to bring home the win at Glendhu Bay.

The race started with a strong swim by Wanaka athlete Rebecca Clarke, the hometown favourite taking the lead in a field of high class competitors.

Hometown favourite . . . Wanaka triathlete Rebecca Clarke exits the swim leg at Glendhu Bay. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON

Knowing she had some work to do after the swim, Visser powered ahead in the bike leg to take the lead crossing the finish line with a time of 4hr 34min 46sec.

In the men’s competition, Kiwi Kyle Smith dominated from the start.

Leading the pack right from the swim, Smith extended his lead in the bike leg, crossing the finish in 3hr 53min 8sec.

Smith said it was his best performance in three years.

‘‘Everything went perfectly — you get one of these days every once in a blue moon’’, Smith said.

Champion . . . Kiwi athlete Kyle Smith celebrates winning Challenge Wanaka at Glendhu Bay. PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON