Australian youngsters Aaron Royle, Ryan Bailie and Cameron Good showed why the next generation of male triathletes is very much on the move after earning top ten finishes in the opening round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Auckland today.
Royle, the reigning under 23 world champion, was the best placed of the Aussies, finishing a creditable sixth in a race dominated by the Europeans with Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez winning the gold medal from fellow countryman Mario Mola with Portugal’s Joao Silva third.
West Australian Bailie, who has trained alongside Royle in Wollongong since 2009 was a creditable eighth and Canberra-based Cameron Good from Sydney’s Northern Beaches 10th â€“ just behind 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno of Germany.
In the absence of London Olympians Courtney Atkinson, Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton, the rising stars of triathlon are off and running with their sights set on the 2014 Commonwealth Games and in Glasgow and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
It was a brave performance from Good whose race could have been as good as over on the sixth of eight gruelling bike laps, when he crashed alongside Ireland’s Bryan Keane but he dusted himself off and set out after the lead group.
A last minute entry, Good, who has been consistently placed in the top 10 in this summer’s domestic races, showed grit determination to ride his way back into the race.
Royle was always the best placed of the Australian trio, coming out in the lead group on the swim with Bailie fighting his way from the chase group on the bike to lead the field coming into transition after the challenging eight-lap, 40km bike course.
But all eyes were on the imposing figure of Spain’s â€œWild Wolfâ€ and t only took Gomez, (unbeaten in New Zealand now after four wins) three kilometres to shake off Mola, who had raced so well off the bike.
Like most elite triathletes (apart from Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee) Mola didn’t have any answers to the power and determination of Gomez, who conquered the same course to win last year’s Auckland Grand Final.
Royle, who had spent 21 days in assimilated altitude training in Wollongong and at the NSWIS, showed why he will be a young man to watch with his â€œnever say dieâ€ 10km run in a class field of athletes and any victory over an Olympic champion is not to be sneezed at.
Training partner Bailie also showed the benefits of training in the hills around Dapto under coach Jamie Turner to put himself into the top ten in eighth place after a brilliant ride and a dogged 10km run.