The Gold Coast’s Ashleigh Gentle will go into the second last round of the World Triathlon Series in Stockholm next month as the highest ranked Australian after her brave fifth place finish in the World Triathlon Series sprint race in Hamburg today.
The former ITU World Junior Champion gave herself every chance of gate-crashing the podium when she charged into the lead group of five runners inside the final kilometer of the 5km run.
It ensured an exciting finish until Germany’s world ranked number one Anne Haug decided to steal a march on the race when she deserted the group for a long sprint to the finish with 800m remaining.
Cheered on by the large, vocal German crowd, the home town hero was never going to be headed in this triathlon-mad city that has seen the world’s best again converge for the sixth round of the eight race WTS Championship.
Haug sprinted all the way to the finish arch a comfortable winner over British pair Non Stanford and Kitzbuehel winner Jodie Stimpson with New Zealand’s 2011 Beijing WTS grand final winner Andrea Hewitt (NZL) fourth with Gentle maintaining her consistent season with an encouraging fifth.
Also storming home with a super-charged run was London Olympic and silver medallist from Kitzbuehel Emma Jackson who was seventh; two-time Olympian and former two-time world champion Emma Moffatt 22nd; youngster Natalie van Coevorden 26th and another up-and-comer Charlotte McShane 43rd.
Van Coevorden gave herself every chance after exiting the water after the 750m swim in fourth place while Moffatt and McShane, who were well back in the swim and stuck in the chase pack, were never in the hunt.
Gentle, who had an interrupted start to her season with a lingering foot injury, is now sitting in equal fifth place with Hewitt on 2077 points on the all-important ITU World Rankings, behind leaders Haug (3025); Stimpson (2855); USA’s Gwen Jorgensen (2775) who was sixth today and Stanford (2528).
Moffatt is sitting in seventh on 1778 points with Felicity Abram, who missed Hamburg after failing to recover from a virus that floored her in Kitzbuehel, in 10th on 1601 and Jackson after just two races, 16th on 1241.
Other Australians are: McShane, 22nd (1039) and van Coevorden 30th (679).
As for all the girls, it will be London, with Commonwealth Games selection for Glasgow on the line, that remains Gentle’s major goal for 2013.
â€œLondon still remains the main focus. To be at my best form come grand final time in September has always been the aim while staying inside the top ten,â€ said Gentle.
The best placed Australian inside the top eight in London will gain automatic selection for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Team.
Stockholm will host the next round of the WTS Series on August 24-25 with London hosting the Grand Final on September 11-15.
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