Australia’s Under 23 and Junior ITU Triathlon World Championship representatives produced impressive performances in the helter-skelter weekend of racing at the Tiszaujvaros TriWeek in Hungary.
Under 23s Declan Wilson and Natalie Van Coevorden finished fourth and fifth respectively in the ITU Triathlon World Cup with the National Talent Academy scholarship holder Wilson producing the fastest 5km run split of the day after the 750m swim and 20km bike ride.
Van Coevorden recorded another encouraging swim-bike to enhance her confidence in the countdown to the ITU World Championships in London from September 11-15.
Meanwhile Australia’s Junior World Championship team for London were also out in full force in Tiszaujvaros for the ETU Triathlon European Cup, held over the same semi-final and final format but over the lesser distances of a 500m swim, 12km bike and 3.2km run.
Brisbane’s Holly Grice, a noted swim-biker, held on to take a well deserved bronze medal from her fast-finishing team mates who finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the women’s race.
Tasmania’s Jacob Birtwhistle produced the fastest run of the day to finish 12th in a closely-fought men’s final to be the best placed male.
ITU WORLD CUP
The ITU World Cup men’s finalists were cheered on by the famous Tiszaujvaros crowd as the chasing pack roared off the bikes onto the run, hunting down the front nine with Australia’s Wilson and Gregory Rouault (FRA) particularly impressive as they attacked the leaders and made their way up through the field.
By the end of the second lap Francesc Godoy (ESP) and break through winner Florin Salvisberg (SUI) were stride for stride but all eyes were on the runners, led by Frederic Belaubre (FRA) who was running terrifically in third.
Salvisberg and Godoy could not afford to rest on their laurels but they remained controlled and, having each led for a spell, it finally fell for Salvisberg to take the lead on the final lap and win his first World Cup.
Belaubre took a nostalgic podium in third with the very impressive Wilson (14.20) and Rouault ((14.23) just running out of road having posted the two fastest run split times of the day.
The Aussies were well represented in both ITU World Cup finals with nine athletes qualifying through from Saturday’s semi-finals â€“ four men and five women.
In the men’s final it was London Olympian Brendan Sexton who finished in 15th; Peter Kerr (22nd) and Marcel Walkington (26th).
While in the women’s final it was Van Coevorden who gave herself every chance from the outset before grabbing a fast-finishing fifth.
The Wollongong-based 20-year-old was fifth out of the water behind British Olympian Lucy Hall and her UK team mate Natalie Milne who worked well together for the first two laps on the bike.
They created a 30 second gap over a chase group of eight, which included Van Coevorden, Anne Tabarant (FRA) and Erin Jones (USA), eventual winner Kate Hursey (USA) and silver medallist Aileen Reid (IRE).
Despite carrying a 35 second lead into the run over the immediate chasers Hursey, Reid and Sara Vilic (ITA) they couldn’t hang on with both Tabarant and Van Coevorden also running down the British duo.
Van Coevorden said via Twitter: â€œPretty stoked with my (fifth place) result today. Rewarded for a good swim and a rideâ€¦Moving forward.â€
Other places for the Australians were Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (11th), Charlotte McShane (12th) after her impressive semi-final showing on Saturday, Tamsyn Moana-Veale (20th) and Grace Musgrove (23rd)
Wilson, Van Coevorden, McShane, Moana-Veale and Musgrove all have set their sights set on next month’s Under 23 ITU World Championships in London (September 11-15).
ETU EUROPEAN CUP
Meanwhile Australia’s Junior World Championship team dominated proceedings in the semi-finals and were again prominent, especially in the women’s race in the finals of the ETU Triathlon European Cup.
It was Grice who had the best of the swim leg along with fellow Queenslander Jodie Duff and Jaz Hedgeland (WA) close by, followed by Queensland’s Sophie Malowiecki.
Grice put herself in the race over the bike course alongside British pair, eventual winner Georgia Taylor-Brown and silver medallist Sophie Coldwell, with Taylor-Brown dominant on the run, clocking the fastest split of the race – 12 minutes 11 seconds to head the GBR 1-2.
But it was then the charge of the Aussie brigade, with Grice (a clear bronze medallist), some 30 seconds ahead of Duff in fourth, with the fast-finishing Malowiecki fifth and Hedgeland sixth in a dominant Australian effort.
Malowiecki (12.27) and Duff (12.32) produced the second and third fastest run splits of the day.
In the men’s race, Birtwhistle was always on the chase after he and team mate Joel Tobin-White came out of the water well behind the leaders and then faced a huge task to play catch- up for the remainder of the race.
Not even the fastest run split by Birtwhistle, the IAAF Junior World Cross Country representative, of 10.36 (the only runner under 10.40) was fast enough to peg back the leaders â€“ with just 46 seconds separating the top 12.
Tobin-White also dug deep on the run to clock 11.11 to finish 20th, while Luke Willian was forced out of the race after the swim.
A cyclist, tech geek at heart, a passion for new shiny things and a huge appetite for triathlon. I spend most of my time between managing two of the world's best triathletes and a traditional corporate life.