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New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn wins Port Macquarie 70.3 Triathlon



By Karl Hayes

Photo Credit: Sophie Hayes

New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn took charge of the 2011 Port Macquarie 70.3 from the start and even though she was passed by a rampaging Melissa Rollison and Belinda Granger got close on the bike she stayed relaxed. When Lawn hit the run the race was over as she powered away from the field although at the start of the run she thought she was in second place. Victoria’s Madeleine Oldfield was second and ACT’s Michelle Wu was third.

Going in to the race Lawn was incredibly relaxed. “I was looking forward to racing again in Australia. It has been 6 years.”

The 12m draft rule seemed to suit Lawn with her stong bike. “It was a long way on my own but I enjoyed getting in to a rhythm and liked the 12m rule. Belinda Granger caught me but stayed a long way back. She came past a couple of times but I didn’t panic and just stayed focused and kept pushing.”

On the run Lawn assumed she was in second place at the start due to being passed on the bike by a flying Melissa Rollison. “Melissa came past me on the bike and was attacking the course like it was a 40km TT. When I got off the bike, her bike was on the rack!! So I assumed she was running. I just took off out of transition as fast as I could.” It wasn’t until Lawn was well in to the run that she realised she was in first place due to Rollison pulling out after the bike.

Jo Lawn is off to Busselton this weekend to take part in the 70.3 and is excited about racing over there. “I have heard so many great things about Busselton and can’t wait to get over there”.

Out of the 15 pro women starters only 5 finished. Mostly it was the bike leg that took its toll on the field.

Proving that you should never give up Oldfield was in fourth place after getting dropped on the bike by Granger, Wu (and Franks for a while) Oldfield managed to pull herself together mentally on the bike and come home with fresher legs than Wu and Granger. This proved to be the difference as she firstly pulled Granger’s lead over her back to nothing then went on to slowly catch Michelle Wu. Wu is renowned for her run but she found that this was not to be on Sunday. The strong head winds for the first 45kms of the bike course took their toll on many.

Madeleine Oldfield’s second place has given her the confidence as she heads to Busselton and on to the USA for our winter. “The first few hills combined with the headwind made for super tough riding and I soon found myself spat out the back. It was at this point that I thought my race was over and all those negative thoughts started to creep in. However I soldiered on and started to feel strong again in the second half. With the legs feeling good, I was looking forward to posting a good run time and try to make up some ground.”

Heading out onto the run Oldfield had no idea what place she was in, but soon had feedback from the crowd that she was in 4th place. “This was a lot better than expected and gave me the confidence to give it my all on the run and try to chase down the girls in front. I was feeling good so stepped up the pace and managed to pick up a few places, and eventually crossed the finish line in 2nd place.”

Madeleine now heads over to Busselton then to the USA where she will now go with a lot of confidence to race 70.3.

Michelle Wu came in to the race with a recent case of Plantar Faciitis that meant she could not run two weeks out from Port. This meant that Wu had no expectations going in to Sunday’s race. “Leading into the race, my run preparation was hampered by the dreaded Plantar Faciitis. Argh! such an annoying pest! Two weeks before Port I couldn’t even run. A week before I managed 40min jogging pain free.  During race week, another 30min easy. That was it! My run training for Port! I had in my head that if my foot was sore once on the run leg, that I would pull the plug. There was no point risking further injury with my upcoming USA trip.”

Out on the bike and immediately Wu knew it was going to be a tough tough ride. “The wind was blowing me around and it was really tough going. I lost contact with Belinda as she rode off ahead. Mel Rollison then flew past me like I was standing still.. crickey she was MOVING!!”

Michelle headed out on to the run knowing that it was going to be a tough day at the office. “I saw Belinda on the sidelines suffering from cramps not long out of transition, so this put me into what I thought was 3rd. I was in fact 2nd as Rollison had also pulled the pin!  Only Jo Lawn was ahead of me.” Lawn was in fact a long way ahead. Madeleine Oldfield was now stalking Wu and running very strong.

Wu held on for an eventual 3rd place and some valuable points. Michelle is now heading over to train under her coach Siri Lindley and will then work out her race plan for the year. This will mainly centre around USA 70.3 events.

One of the big disappointments on the day was the 2006 Commonwealth Games silver medalist in the 3000 meter steeplechase, Melissa Rollison pulling out after 1km on the run. Melissa had unfortunately rolled her ankle on the Saturday night before the race. After starting the bike over a minute down on the main field she entered T2 over eight minutes ahead of the field and as one of the stronger runners she would have been hard to run down.

Some other great performances on the day belonged to Melinda Cockshutt who was the first female age grouper home on the day in 4:50. Next age grouper home was 54 year old Nancy Cullen in 7th place overall. Sarah Green in the 45-40 age group posted the 8th fastest run overall for a 2nd place in her age group and 19th overall.

Also congratulations to Jaimielle Jacobs who raced her first 70.3 and finished 30th female over all and 8th in 25-29 with a very fast swim and solid run. While Jaimielle was completing her race a certain Mr Jacobs was getting close to winning his first Australian Ironman title. Well done Jaimielle.


Full results available on

1 LAWN, Joanna 38/Pro 0:26:00 2:32:28 1:28:39 4:29:36
2 OLDFIELD, Madeleine 24/Pro 0:26:48 2:38:22 1:30:01 4:37:24
3 WU, Michelle 28/Pro 0:26:46 2:36:46 1:35:09 4:41:10
4 GRANGER, Belinda 41/Pro 0:26:49 2:32:00 1:42:24 4:43:53
5 COCKSHUTT, Melinda 37/35-39 0:28:32 2:40:27 1:37:40 4:50:38
6 FRANKS, Elly 29/Pro 0:26:52 2:39:28 1:51:57 5:00:31
7 CULLEN, Nancy 54/50-54 0:31:42 2:52:50 1:43:15 5:10:59
8 JANSSEN, Xanne 25/25-29 0:31:34 2:50:44 1:48:05 5:14:14
9 HARRIS, Laura 22/18-24 0:33:39 2:49:50 1:51:16 5:17:08
10 MITCHELL, Mary 52/50-54 0:32:51 2:50:20 1:52:25 5:19:04
11 HARDING, Elizabeth 45/45-49 0:33:33 2:44:51 1:56:16 5:19:05
12 MCLAREN, Therese 29/25-29 0:34:31 2:51:28 1:50:59 5:19:59
13 WEBSTER, Julie 36/35-39 0:34:26 2:52:58 1:49:42 5:20:19
14 HEENEY, Jodi 39/35-39 0:36:55 2:56:21 1:45:58 5:21:55
15 MERTENS, Ann 25/25-29 0:32:46 2:45:56 2:00:16 5:22:04
16 GRIGALIUNAS, Yasmin 35/35-39 0:31:46 2:54:17 1:56:02 5:25:24
17 CULLEN, Jolene 29/25-29 0:32:06 2:50:27 1:59:49 5:25:43
18 BRACE, Kristen 35/35-39 0:38:37 2:56:12 1:48:04 5:26:07
19 GREEN, Sarah 47/45-49 0:40:26 2:57:21 1:45:18 5:26:59
20 GRAVES, Stephanie 28/25-29 0:32:03 3:01:55 1:50:58 5:27:06
21 BRAZENOR, Sarah 41/40-44 0:37:29 2:56:23 1:50:20 5:27:25
22 ORACKI, Andrea 26/25-29 0:29:13 3:06:27 1:49:45 5:29:03
23 SMALLEY, Sally 41/40-44 0:31:12 2:59:14 1:54:17 5:30:14
24 NORTHEY, Kim 36/35-39 0:36:49 2:59:09 1:50:59 5:31:35
25 MICHELL, Kim 31/30-34 0:38:55 3:04:39 1:44:46 5:31:54
26 JOHNSON, Kylie 26/25-29 0:33:51 2:53:04 2:02:31 5:32:25
27 VAN MIDDELDYK, Zoe 32/30-34 0:36:58 2:54:11 1:59:55 5:34:32
28 THORNE, Christina 37/35-39 0:35:33 3:02:02 1:58:41 5:39:29
29 DROS, Tania 37/35-39 0:34:28 3:03:08 1:59:16 5:40:31
30 JACOBS, Jaimielle 27/25-29 0:29:58 3:11:38 1:55:16 5:40:55
31 HALLIBURTON, Jane 39/35-39 0:34:42 3:05:51 1:55:25 5:41:11
32 DYASON, Sonja 44/40-44 0:30:32 2:56:32 2:11:19 5:41:55
33 DE WOLF, Sarah 42/40-44 0:43:44 3:03:44 1:50:03 5:42:26
34 BLACK, Hadley 40/40-44 0:32:30 3:04:23 2:00:52 5:42:42
35 DAWES, Alanna 47/45-49 0:34:06 3:11:09 1:54:29 5:43:41
36 HUGHES, Tricia 33/30-34 0:31:13 3:03:05 2:07:04 5:45:01
37 BRIGHT, Kelley 42/40-44 0:33:19 2:57:24 2:10:17 5:45:36
38 COLGAN, Sally 43/40-44 0:39:01 3:03:16 1:59:42 5:45:52
39 ATANASOVSKA, Olivia 33/30-34 0:35:23 2:58:14 2:09:42 5:47:56
40 MOORE, Kelly 31/30-34 0:30:29 3:09:16 2:03:34 5:48:06
41 EASTON, Michelle 45/45-49 0:41:05 3:02:52 2:00:21 5:48:32
42 MALLYON, Leanne 42/40-44 0:34:35 3:06:14 2:02:55 5:49:06
44 GOW, Kirrilee 30/30-34 0:36:11 3:06:47 2:01:33 5:51:37
43 BRANDON, Lucy 22/18-24 0:32:11 3:07:17 2:06:34 5:51:37
45 HEADLEY, Melanie 36/35-39 0:31:07 3:10:43 2:06:47 5:52:24
46 TULLOH, Catherine 59/55-59 0:33:44 3:08:17 2:06:52 5:52:46
47 IACOVELLI, Natashia 39/35-39 0:38:26 2:46:50 2:24:21 5:52:47
48 HUGHES, Barbara 37/35-39 0:31:09 3:07:32 2:09:38 5:52:58
49 REECE, Cloe 36/35-39 0:40:55 3:14:30 1:55:38 5:54:48
50 YOUNG, Gayle 45/45-49 0:38:21 3:08:38 2:02:58 5:54:48
51 MOSS, Melissa 40/40-44 0:35:16 3:14:50 1:57:02 5:55:27
52 LOFTUS-HILLS, Tiffany 38/35-39 0:33:53 2:57:47 2:16:01 5:56:18
53 BEARD, Christine 36/35-39 0:36:10 2:57:14 2:17:25 5:56:54
54 FERGUSON, Jennifer 48/45-49 0:34:46 3:03:53 2:14:50 5:58:19
55 LETHLEAN, Karen 55/55-59 0:32:24 3:19:29 2:03:21 5:58:43
56 GOLDSMITH, Sarah 33/30-34 0:36:04 3:16:16 2:03:35 5:59:33
57 DE ARAUGO, Anna 28/25-29 0:37:19 3:10:55 2:07:07 5:59:51
58 JOHNSON, Belinda 33/30-34 0:26:26 3:12:58 2:15:57 6:00:03
59 PENSINI, Kate 45/45-49 0:41:30 3:19:20 1:54:09 6:00:59
60 ARNOLD, Rachael 31/30-34 0:33:11 3:06:54 2:17:19 6:01:22
61 DAVY, Susan 45/45-49 0:39:15 3:11:08 2:08:20 6:02:57
62 SHARP, Bree 37/35-39 0:40:31 3:23:37 1:55:02 6:03:50
63 GOLLEDGE, Judith 56/55-59 0:43:35 3:08:24 2:08:28 6:04:14
64 MCGREGOR, Carole 35/35-39 0:34:39 3:20:19 2:08:17 6:06:49
65 STINSON, Tracey 41/40-44 0:35:57 3:11:13 2:13:55 6:07:00
66 PHELAN, Jane 46/45-49 0:36:13 3:20:13 2:07:35 6:07:21
67 SANBROOK, Melanie 36/35-39 0:34:11 3:06:37 2:22:42 6:07:37
68 MACCALLUM, Donna 45/45-49 0:38:17 3:06:22 2:20:46 6:09:49
69 GREEN, Lyndal 44/40-44 0:30:02 3:23:08 2:10:15 6:10:16
70 BRUNTON, Annette 54/50-54 0:43:41 3:13:34 2:08:03 6:10:54
71 TUDJMAN, Kim 49/45-49 0:36:33 3:22:45 2:05:52 6:11:23

Karl is a keen age group triathlete who races more than he trains. Good life balance! Karl works in the media industry in Australia and is passionate about the sport of triathlon.


News & Racing

Major League Triathlon Adds 3rd International Team



Major League Triathlon, the first and only professional triathlon league in North America, has announced a 9th team (3rd International franchise) for the 2018 season. For the first time in the league’s history, a National team from Mexico will participate in MLT.

The new franchise, dubbed, Guardianes de Guadalajara (Guadalajara Guardians), will consist of many of the top Mexican National Team athletes. The team will include:

Pro Men

  • Crisanto Grajales
  • Irving Perez
  • Abraham Rodriguez
  • Aram Peñaflor
  • Leonardo Saucedo

Pro Women

  • Cecilia Perez
  • Vanesa de La Torre
  • Adriana Carreño
  • Andrea Gutierrez
  • Lizeth Rueda

“We are thrilled to welcome this team to Major League Triathlon.” Said Daniel Cassidy, CEO of Major League Triathlon. “Triathlon Mexico and their athletes have established themselves as one of the world’s top federations leading up to Tokyo 2020. We are extremely excited to continue to increase the level of competition and give our athletes the opportunity to race Mixed Team Relay at the highest level possible. “

Major League Triathlon will host nine professional teams and will host many of the World’s best elite triathletes including international teams from Australia, Canada, and Mexico. MLT will host four events, making stops in: Atlantic City, Vail Valley, Tempe and Charlotte. The third year league specializes in the Mixed Team Relay format of racing, which will make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. At every event, each athlete will swim 300 meters, bike four miles and run one mile, one at a time, before tagging their next teammate. The first team to have all four athletes cross the finish line will win.

Guardianes de Guadalajara

Guardianes de Guadalajara is the only Mexican/Latin-American Team competing in Major League Triathlon. They represent the City of Guadalajara. The Guardianes de Guadalajara will feature experienced triathletes like Olympians: Crisanto Grajales (London 2012 and Rio 2016), Irving Pérez (Río 2016), Cecilia Pérez (Río 2016) and the future of the extremely strong Mexican National Team including: Junior and U23 triathletes like Vanesa de la Torre, Abraham Rodriguez and Aram Peñaflor.

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Rudy Project Launches Project Podium for Age Group Athletes



Rudy Project North America, the exclusive distributor of Italian-made endurance sports gear, and the most worn helmet at Kona 7 times in a row is launching Project Podium, an initiative that rewards North America’s fastest age group triathletes with award-winning performance Rudy Project eyewear and helmets. All age group racers that win their age group in any sanctioned long distance triathlon in the United States and Canada are eligible to receive a free, top-of-the-line Rudy Project Boost 01 road aero helmet and a pair of Tralyx sunglasses. Winners will also be featured on Rudy Project’s website and lauded on social media as the top long-distance age group triathletes on the continent.

“A full-distance, 140 miles plus race is nothing to sneeze at, and attempting one is a feat in of itself,” said Paul Craig, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America. “To win your age group, to come out on top, is something exceptional, and we want to reward the best, with the best.”

The program is open to all age group triathletes that compete in a sanctioned long distance triathlon race, in Canada or the United States, that is included in Project Podium’s list of eligible races. Athletes must be legal residents of either Canada or the United States in order to be eligible to win. The prize pack being offered is worth up to $625 USD, and triathletes that win their age group can submit their results online for verification at in order to redeem. Athletes will be able to choose from the entire Boost 01 road aero colour line up, which includes Stealth Black and eye-popping Pink Fluo. Rudy Project’s new road aero helmet is quickly becoming an athlete favourite, following wind tunnel testing by ProCycling Magazine that demonstrated the Boost 01 was faster than any competitor helmet tested. To complement their helmet, athletes can also select a frame from the entire award-winning Tralyx family, including the regular Tralyx, Tralyx XL for additional coverage, or the new Tralyx SLIM, designed specifically for athletes with narrower faces. That, coupled with customer-forward warranties like Rudy Project’s 6 Year Crash Replacement Guarantee and Lifetime Replacement Lens Guarantee, make this an unbeatable prize package for the age grouper at the top of their game.

“Rudy Project is simply the best,” said Paul Craig. “We’re choosing to celebrate athletes who power the sport – the age group athlete and rewarding those that get to the top, the pinnacle of success. It may seem too good to be true, but we’re serious. If you win your age group in one of our listed races, we want to give you a helmet and sunglasses. If that extra push is all it takes to motivate someone to train a little harder, run a little faster down the chute toward the finish line, then we’ve done our job.”

Winning athletes can submit their information and race results for verification online. Athletes that won their age group in any 2018 full distance triathlon prior to the announcement of the program are also eligible to redeem retroactively. Full terms and conditions of the initiative can be found online, as well as a full list of eligible races. The program will run until December 2018.

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Taiwan added to XTERRA World Tour on 29-30 September at Kenting National Park



XTERRA World Tour today announced the inaugural XTERRA Taiwan off-road triathlon and accompanying sports festival to be held September 29-30, 2018 at Kenting National Park.

Events include an XTERRA championship distance event, an “Xticer” beginner distance off-road triathlon, 5, 10 and 21-kilometre trail runs.

“We are thrilled to bring XTERRA to the people of Taiwan and introduce the sport and lifestyle to athletes of all ages and skill levels,” said Brian Wei, Vice President of Marketing. “We also look forward to having XTERRA Tribe members from around the world join us in Taiwan to discover a truly remarkable location in Kenting and the fabulous culture and community that is found here.”

Kenting is on the southern tip of Taiwan and famous for its warm, turquoise water and white-sand beaches that give way to magnificent mountains and natural reserves.

The main event starts with a one-mile swim at Little Bay beach with a short run in between two-laps. The swim-to-bike transition is at the fascinating Kenting Youth Activity Center, which is comprised of 17 different styles of old-world buildings and is a tourist destination all by itself. Then, the 26-kilometer mountain bike course takes competitors from coastal terrain to rocky riverbeds to uncharted territory high atop MenMaLou mountain. And the final test of endurance is a 10-kilometer trail run through the tranquil and “enchanted forest” of Chihniuling, considered one of the eight wonders of Hengchun.

The XTERRA Taiwan Championship event offers an elite prize purse of $15,000 USD split among the top seven men and women and also 49 qualifying spots for amateurs vying to compete at the 2019 XTERRA World Championship race in Maui.

The Xticer tri is a perfect introductory race with a manageable 200m swim, 10km mountain bike and 2km trail run. Relay teams of two-or-three people are encouraged to race in the full distance event.

In addition to the off-road triathlons there is a race for everyone in the family during the 5km, 10km and 21km trail running races. And for the fast runners, a $20,000 NTD (about $700 USD) will be awarded to the top three men and women in the half-marathon distance race.

XTERRA has had a presence in the Asia-Pacific region since 2000 and hosts events in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Tahiti, and New Caledonia, however, this is its first foray into the burgeoning endurance sports market of Taiwan,” said Janet Clark, President of XTERRA World Tour.

Nico Lebrun, the XTERRA European director, helped design the course. He also returned to Taiwan to host local coaching clinics to help leaders in the area teach the various disciplines of XTERRA as well as champion the XTERRA motto to “Live More” through a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle.

“After two trips to Kenting I can tell you it’s a beautiful place, and the perfect location for XTERRA,” said Lebrun, who is also part of the organizing committee producing the event. “If you like hot weather, warm water, fresh local food, and strong culture, you will love it here.”

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Drama and excitement at Challenge Denmark



Andreas Dreitz and Pernille Thalund each took home a convincing victory in Saturday’s Challenge Herning. After a non-wetsuit swim the athletes had to conquer an unusually hot summer day, which delivered as well drama as excitement.

For a while favourite, Camilla Pedersen (DK) looked like a sure winner. The former elite swimmer came first out of the water after only 25:56 minutes, with two minutes down to fellow dane Pernille Thalund. But almost halfway through the bike course, Thalund took the lead and kept it all the way to the finish line. Laura Siddall (GB) fought her way up from being 9th to second place, well three minutes after Thalund. 18 minutes later Frankie Sanjana (GB) crossed the finish line.

Meanwhile, Camilla Pedersen fought a brave but brutal battle with her stomach which refused to hold anything down in the heat. It goes without saying that it was an unfair match, and halfway through the course, she chose to pull herself out of the race.

Dreitz does it again

Among the men, Swedish favorite Jesper Svensson was first out off the water with Daniel Bækkegaard right behind him. But racing across the Danish heath, the ranks were turned upside down. Ultimately, the former Challenge Denmark winner Andi Dreitz took the lead, after which Danes Matthias Lyngsø Petersen and Kristian Hindkjær succeeded in overtaking Svensson.

Last year’s winner, Anders “Hightower” Christensen finished fifth.

The weather as X factor

One should never complain about the fabulous, Danish summer weather. But in the triathlon context, the heat was grueling.For the pros, the water temperature of 23.1 degrees meant a non wetsuit swim, which was a draw back for the heavier athletes.The vast majority of the age groupers athletes chose to swim in their wetsuits.

The almost non-existent wind made cycling really fast. But as the athletes went out running, the combination of heat, sun and no wind meant an excruciatingly hard run through Herning’s otherwise festive streets.

“The weather is always the x-factor in triathlon. It’s something you can not predict or change – and that can make a huge difference in either direction. But it’s the same for everyone, and that’s something that makes it exciting”, says race director Claus Vesterby.

All about the experience

It is a very proud and happy race director, Claus Vesterby, who can close and shut Challenge Herning this evening: “We had a phenomenal pro field with some amazing athletes and personalities. It’s amazing to notice how the Challenge Family spirit influenced the day among both pro and age group athletes. All the amateur athletes at all levels who struggled to exceed their own expectations and have a party with their sport, never seize to amaze me. They are just as important to us as the professionals, and it’s fascinating to see the breadth of our sport. I am proud of that,” says Claus Vesterby:

“Everyone is here to do their best, but first and foremost they come to get a great experience. And there’s no doubt they’ve got that today – and so have I.It’s a pleasure to feel how the city of Herning has taken the Challenge in and really backs us up and creates a party around the athletes. That means so unbelievably much. So we are already looking forward to making an even more amazing event next year.”



  1. Andreas Dreiz, D, 3:47:12
  2. Matthias Lyngsø Petersen, DK, 3:51:54
  3. Kristian Hindkjær, DK, 3:57:31


  1. Pernille Thalund, DK, 4:20:55
  2. Laura Siddall, GB 4:24:00 PM
  3. Frankie Sanjana, GB, 4:42:00 PM

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Mark Allen is Final Surge’s New Partner, Spokesperson, and Advisor for Triathlon



Mark Allen, 6-time IRONMAN® Triathlon World Champion and “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time” according to ESPN, has teamed up with FinalSurge, the Best Online Training Log according to Triathlete magazine’s June 2018 Issue, to produce a special edition “Mark Allen Coaching” branded training program for triathlon. Allen will also serve as a spokesperson and advisor for Final Surge triathlon projects.

“His accomplishments as an endurance athlete are legendary, but we were even more blown away with his depth of knowledge, experience, and innovations in coaching,” said Bob Butler, IRONMAN Certified Coach and COO of Final Surge. “Having Mark Allen on the team represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to use his unparalleled athletic experience and coaching insights to build on our recent honor as “Best Online Training Log.”

“When the opportunity arose to work with Final Surge I recognized that the technology created by their team had finally reached a level of sophistication and ease of use that would be a perfect match for my coaching theories,” said Allen. “Final Surge has developed the best mobile applications for online coaches in all endurance sports, and I am proud to be a part of their team as they continue to innovate and grow.”

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Rio Olympian Ryan Bailie moves to 6th on the WTS World Rankings



It was a case of survival of the fittest in yesterday’s energy-sapping World Triathlon Series Leeds round with Australia’s Rio Olympian, “Mr Consistent” Ryan Bailie the best of the Aussies, moving up the ITU WTS World Rankings to sixth after his 10th place finish.

His Olympic teammate Aaron Royle, after his sterling performance to put Australia in the medal hunt in Thursday’s WTS World Triathlon Mixed Relay, faded on the 10km run to finish 13th.

The tough Olympic distance Leeds course, with its immediate hill climb off the 1500m swim and then the 12.5km ride into the city before the tight technical street laps over 27.5km, proved unforgiving for some.

There were some casualties on the bike and then more on the run – including the likes of Leeds local hero and two-time Olympic medallist Jonny Brownlee.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jake Birtwhistle, third on the rankings going into Leeds, has dropped to seventh after his 22nd placing in a race which also saw his Commonwealth Games teammate Luke Willian 32nd and Marcel Walkington 36th.

“But there were some positives up until that point and in recent times they have been few and far between so I’ll take it. Bit of ‘R&R’ for a few days and then back into it.”

Royle has jumped four places on the WTS rankings to 17th to 13 to give Australia three in the top 15 after the first five events of a season that will culminate in the 2018 Grand Finale on the Gold Coast (September 12-16).

The next stop will be Hamburg on July 14 and 15; Edmonton (July 27-29) and Montreal (August 25-26) before the Gold Coast final stop.

Defending champion Mario Mola sits on top of the rankings ladder after his second-place finish behind South African Richard Murray yesterday which saw Frenchman Vincent Luis third.

But things didn’t go all Mola’s way as Murray scooted away to South Africa’s first-ever Olympic distance WTS gold.

“I had a beginner’s mistake today,” said Mario Mola. “I jumped on my bike and when I hit the pedal it hit the floor so I had to get down and fix it. Luckily I had a very good swim so I was able to get in the second pack. From then, I just kept working and today the effort paid off. Congratulations to Richard, he was really strong today. I really liked the course, it’s tough but I liked it.”

The Australian women had a frustrating day in the office with Ashleigh Gentle, Natalie Van Coevorden, Charlotte McShane and Gillian Backhouse all falling by the wayside recording DNFs through the 40km bike leg.

Gentle wrote on Twitter: “Out of Leeds after my pre-race swim yesterday. Things went south.

“Stomach bug or food poisoning flattened me. I lined up to give it a go but unfortunately, I felt incredibly weak and couldn’t hardly push any power.”

The race eventually went to local Vicky Holland in a GBR quinella with youngster Georgia Taylor-Brown taking silver and Katie Zaferes (USA) third.

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