Britain's Matthew Sharp fifth in opening triathlon event

Britain's Matthew Sharp finished fifth in the Auckland International Triathlon, the first of the eight events in this year's World Series.

The 2011 under-23 world champion clocked one hour 56 minutes 51 seconds.

Dramatic sprint finish in women's triathlon

Twice world champion Javier Gomez of Spain, who won last year's grand final in Auckland, won in 1:55.51.

Defending champion Anne Haug won the women's race but Britain's Jodie Stimpson withdrew with hypothermia and Katie Hewison had a stomach bug.

Haug broke away from the leading group of four during the last lap of the run and finished in 2:08.20, three seconds clear of Maaike Caelers of the Netherlands, with Australian Felicity Abram third.

Gomez has now won all four of his competitive races in Auckland.

The 30-year-old emerged from the 1.5km swim in fourth place behind Richard Varga and Russians Ivan Vasiliev and Igor Polyanskiy, but worked hard in the early stages of the eight-lap cycle to stay with the leading group.

World Series schedule

18-20 April: San Diego

11-12 May: Yokohama

1-2 June: Madrid

6 July: Kitzbuhel

20-21 July: Hamburg

24-25 August: Stockholm

11-15 September: London

Mario Mola suffered a puncture on the fourth lap but managed to recover quickly to be near the front of the field starting the 10km run.

Gomez, Mola, Silva and New Zealand's Tony Dodds led early on the running leg but Silva and Dodds soon dropped off, leaving the Spanish pair to fight out the finish.

Gomez, who opened his season with a win in a World Cup event in Australia three weeks ago, was the stronger of the pair and managed to surge away in the final kilometre for his third-straight ITU victory.

Mola claimed his first podium finish and Silva dug deep to take third ahead of Laurent Vidal of France.

Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and reigning world champion Jonny Brownlee chose not to compete in New Zealand and will begin their campaigns in the second event of the series in San Diego from 18-20 April.