Junior world champion Ashleigh Gentle continued her current good form with a controlled performance and dominant run leg for a convincing victory, while Mitch Robins has emerged as a new rising star to claim his first major win in just his second Olympic distance triathlon at the Northside Party Hire ITU Mooloolaba Oceania Cup this morning.
Gold Coast based Gentle made up ground after a slow swim to move through the field on the 40km cycle leg setting herself up for a blistering run leg split (34:11) on the 10km ahead of fellow Australian’s Natalie Van Coedorden and Tamsyn Moana-Veale.
â€œI try not focus on the other people, I just try and get my group organised and try and work well with the group because no matter who is up the front you want to try and catch them.â€
â€œI was with a big group of girls in the swim so I wasn’t panicking so I thought that if we could all work well and try and reel in those girls at the front of the swim,â€ she added.
Gentle’s solid run leg secured her a strong finish, 99 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
The junior world champion had had a successful weekend at the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival, with a victory in the Asics Twilight run and an age group win in the Australian Power & Gas Mooloolaba Ocean Swim prior to winning today’s pinnacle triathlon event.
â€œIt’s been a really good weekend to get some hard work done with the twilight 5k run, the Ocean Swim and today’s race and my next big focus is on Japan in 3 weeks time.
â€œI just tried to take the appropriate recovery in between each race and I think they were really good hit outs and I think they have done me well,â€ she said.
Mitch Robins admitted that progressing to the elite level soon is a definite possibility.
â€œWhen I handed my race plan to Triathlon Australia I didn’t have any World Championships Series races on my schedule and I think I want to keep it like that for now as it’s all a matter of how I progress across the three disciplines. If things are going alright stepping up to the elite level is a possibility. I don’t want to step up too soon.â€
In the men’s event Robins claimed his first Olympic distance win, ahead of Australian’s Ryan Fisher and Peter Kerr.
â€œThat was a fast race. I haven’t done many of these Olympic distance ITU races, I came from a long course background so it’s a step down but it’s also a very big step up at the same time. I’m just glad I got to the front and held on, it was windy, it was fast and tough,â€ he said.
Robins was behind the pack in the swim but made good time on the bike and run leg to beat home Fisher and Kerr.
â€œSwimming my Achilles’ heel, I just had to hang on in the swim and hopefully just be there in the end. I had no real race plan – just don’t look back I guess.â€
Mitch came out of the water about 20 seconds down on the front group but all the guys quickly came together on the bike. A small breakaway of about 6 guys put about 1:30 on the remaining bunch. Mitch backed himself to stay with the main bunch and use his strength on the run to get him home. He did this with about 3kms to go and was able to enjoy the last few minutes of the run and enjoy the win.
â€œThis is the 2nd Olympic distance race I’ve done. I’ll just keep chipping away at these races, the standard of yesterday (ITU World Cup Mens Race) looks like a big step up so I’ll just keep working and see if I can hopefully see if I can get there â€“ that’s the goal,â€ he said.
The 22-year will take a break from long-course and focus his training on Olympic distance racing.
â€œI’ll be doing some Asian Continental Cups and maybe America and Europe, I’ll just play it by ear. I can go back to long course when I’m old and a bit slower. The time is now to have a crack, this is it,â€ he said.
Second place-getter Ryan Fisher was pleased with his finish, ahead of the ITU World Cup in Japan.
â€œThe race was pretty good, the swim was good I came out with the front couple of guys and we had a small group for a while but we got chased down pretty quickly on the highway and then the two groups behind caught up and just a big pack, going pretty slow on the way back, I think everyone was trying to save themselves,â€ he said.
Kerr did well to hold onto third position after a busted tire with 5km to go on the cycle.
â€œMy race definitely didn’t go to plan, everything was right on play then with 5km to go on the bike I got a flat so that ruined it,â€ he said.
â€œI was working beautifully on the bike and I felt really comfortable and then I heard a big â€˜bang’ and everyone wants to spread away from me and I thought I’ve got to go home so I may as well ride on the rim, probably isn’t great for the wheel but it got me home and I had to come in a little bit behind everyone.â€
As a prequel to the ITU World Cup Elite Women’s race scheduled to start at 12:45pm today, over 6500 keen age-group competitors took up their own challenge in the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run from 6:30am this morning.
1. Mitchell Robins AUS 1:51:45
2. Ryan Fischer AUS 1:51:54
3. Peter Kerr AUS 1:51:56
4. Peter Schokman AUS 1:52:00
1. Ashleigh Gentle AUS 2:03:25
2. Natalie Van Coevorden AUS 2:05:10
3. Tamsyn Moana-Veale AUS 2:06:35
4. Ellie Salthouse AUS 2:06:41