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Triathlon Australia announces five new State Performance Centres

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Triathlon Australia has today officially announced its five new State Performance Centres as it continues to strive for sustained international success on a competitive world stage.

The governing body’s High Performance Program, under the direction of National Performance Director Bernard Savage, called for nationwide expressions of interest from coaches/programs.

In a vibrant market, Triathlon Australia High Performance (TAHP) received 14 applications with the five successful State Performance Centres going to:

  • Carina Leagues Triathlon Club (Carina, Brisbane, QLD). Head Coach: Warwick Dalziel.
  • Performance Triathlon Coaching (Canberra, ACT): Head Coach: Corey Bacon
  • QAS State Performance Centre (Albany Creek/Lawnton, Brisbane, QLD). Head Coach: Josh White
  • Rehula Performance Training (Melbourne, VIC). Head Coach: Jan Rehula and;
  • Sheldon College (Sheldon, Brisbane, QLD) – Head coach: Chris Lang.

The five centres will receive direct financial support with agreed allocation of funding investment for the next two years from TAHP as well as being recognised as Triathlon Australia State Performance Centres (SPC).

“The establishment of our five SPCs is an important element of our new High Performance Plan,” said Savage.

“They will be critical to our ability to meet our long term contribution to Australia’s ‘Winning Edge’ investment.”

The SPC Head Coaches can officially use the title “Triathlon Australia State Performance Coach” and they will be actively involved in the design and establishment of the new TA National Athlete Pathway Framework (NAPF) as well as assisting with National Development Camp, NTA camps and National Performance Standard time trials.

It is anticipated athletes that have been selected for the National Talent Academy (NTA) program and/or have been categorised as an “emerging” or higher category athletes will be coached free of charge within the SPC environment.

Triathlon Australia’s National Manager High Performance Pathway, Craig Redman is excited with the appointments.

“The key thing for us is that we know that athletes working in a daily training environment, working face-to-face with coaches, developing long-term relationships have the greatest success,” said Redman.

“And a lot of the athletes working in these environments are well on the way to having good progression; they’re the ones working daily in that face-to-face environment

“This is about recognising those key environments and creating those opportunities for the athletes and the coaches by investing where those coaches are working daily face-to-face.

“Camps are great and we know that when we bring (National level) athletes together it brings out the best in them and already we have seen this in the National Talent Academy camp on the Gold Coast recently with personal best times in the pool and on the track.

“But we know it’s the daily training environment that has the greatest impact on the athletes.

“The bread and butter is done with the home coach in the home environment. Day in day out, week in week out – that’s what we are investing into.

“It is recognition for the coaches and the environment they are providing.

“It’s a very strong stepping stone for those coaches moving forward.

“Here are five recognised State Performance Centres that are aligned with our National pathway and provide an invaluable link into National Performance Centres.

“We wanted to invest in coaches that are investing in themselves, in their own programs and investing in our performance pathway.

“We were very happy with the calibre of coaches that applied and there were some very good coaches that missed out but the pie is only so big and can only be divided into so many parts.

“We did not look geographically – we assessed each application on its merits and have awarded the best applications with the designation of State Performance Centre.
“As an example the one application from NSW did not meet our criteria.

“But it is not to say that if someone comes along and warrants recognition that we won’t look at it.”

 

 

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.

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Ashleigh Gentle Earns Silver After Coach Jamie Turner’s Words of Wisdom

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With the words of her coach ringing in her ears triathlete Ashleigh Gentle reached deep down in Rotterdam today to reap the rewards of a move she knew she had to make after last year’s Rio Olympics.

Her move to coach Jamie Turner changed her pathway in the sport she loves and with immediate impact – after she wrapped up her second place finish in the prestigious 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series.

Gentle’s sixth place finish saw her become only the second Australian woman since the WTS replaced the one-off World Championship in 2009 to make it onto the podium – finishing second overall to today’s race winner Flora Duffy from Bermuda.

(The only other Australian with a podium was triple Olympian Emma Moffatt who won the inaugural title in 2009 in Hungary).

Somewhat disillusioned after a disappointing Olympic debut, the 26-year-old from the Gold Coast knew she had to make changes.

And the move to join Turner, the man who guided the USA’s Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen to her greatest triumph in the shadows of Christ The Redeemer on Copacabana Beach last year, has reaped immediate dividends.

After a break out year, which included her first ever WTS victory and a World Teams Relay gold medal, Gentle came into this week’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in second place on the WTS rankings behind the unstoppable Bermudan.

Rotterdam was wet, windy, slippery and tricky and it would test and determine this year’s world champions and placegetters.

Gentle went into the final race of the Series with a philosophical attitude that in triathlon, “anything is possible.”

But she probably didn’t think she would be three minutes down with 12 athletes ahead of her after the 1.5km swim and 40km on the bike.

She was outside the top 10 and although she didn’t know it at the time she actually had to run herself into sixth place to ensure she had second place securely tucked away.

“When I ran past Jamie (Turner) he told me “you are doing really well…happy hunting…there’s rewards up the road,” said Gentle.

It signaled to Gentle to get a move on.

“I knew I had to dig deep and I thought this is it…it’s the last race of the year and I just went as hard as I could,” she said.

“I was just happy I was able to achieve that and get that sixth place even though I didn’t know in my mind exactly what I had to do.

“I knew I had to dig a little bit deeper and then also know I could actually do it.

“I’ve absolutely loved my time training with Jamie; it would not have been possible without him; I have to be grateful for the investment he’s put into me and today Jamie didn’t talk numbers or seconds…. he just gave me that extra little incentive to get the job done.”

Gentle even surprised herself saying: “If you asked me at the start of the year that I would finish second in the world at the end I certainly wouldn’t have thought it was possible.

“I’m really happy with the end result. Every race has been different but they’ve been challenging.

“Obviously Montreal (where I won) was the stand out and it was also the one that I didn’t think was going to be the best (because I felt so sick).

“In all the races, I’ve just tried to fight to the end to get the best result possible.

“I guess upon reflection I can be proud to say that every race I went to I gave it my best. I guess it was such a nice reward o stand on that podium in second. It was a surreal feeling.

“I have been watching the World Series for a long time now and even the World Cups and I’ve been on a lot of World Championship teams.

“I’ve seen some amazing athletes before me get on that podium or be world champions; I don’t think it will sink in for a while but it will be a memory I will treasure forever.”

It was the icing on the cake for a highly successful campaign for the Australian Triathlon team that finished with three gold, two silvers, one bronze and the WTS silver to Gentle.

The first four medals went to Australia’s paratriathletes – with Katie Kelly (and guide Michellie Jones) and Commonwealth Games nominee Emily Tapp claiming gold and Sally Pilbeam and Justin Godfrey silvers.

Earlier in the day the now Gold Coast-based boy from Harvey Bay Matt Hauser became the fourth Australian to win the World Junior title joining Ben Bright, Chris Hill and Courtney Atkinson and taking the team’s third gold.

It also capped an outstanding year for the 19-year-old who in July combined with Gentle, Jake Birtwhistle and Charlotte McShane to win Australia’s first ever Elite World Teams Relay title – a new event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Hauser’s eye-catching performance and fellow Queenslander Luke Willian’s bronze yesterday in the Under 23 World Championship were sure to have impressed the National Selectors who still have to add two final discretionary nominations for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

Birtwhistle is the only male who has achieved an automatic nomination and he was forced out of today’s race after falling ill upon arrival into Rotterdam earlier in the week.

Rio Olympian Aaron Royle, who also fell ill 48 hours before the race with gastro, raced today, hanging on to produce a gutsy 14th place finish with his Rio team mate Ryan Bailie also returning to racing from an injury plagued season to finish in a creditable 18th place.

Birtwhistle was the highest ranked Australian male for the 2017 WTS in 12th, followed by Royle, 16th and Willian 22nd with Spain’s Mario Mola defending hos crown in a race won by Frenchman Vincent Luis.

In the women’s race Gillian Backhouse certainly didn’t do her Commonwealth Games chances any harm finishing in 14th, one place ahead of second automatic nomination in Charlotte McShane.

Also inside the top 20 was the consistent Natalie Van Coevorden in 19th with London Olympian Emma Jackson 30th.

In the overall WTS Rankings it was McShane who finished next behind Gentle in 11th, followed by Backhouse in 13th and Van Coevorden 21st.

In the Under 23 women’s race Emma Jeffcoat was the best of the Australians in 18th followed by Jaz Hedgeland in 22nd.

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Flora Duffy Wins in Rotterdam to Become Two-Time World Champion

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In what looked like a near perfect race outcome that suited her strengths, Flora Duffy (BER) had a dominating performance at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Rotterdam to claim victory and reclaim her ITU World Championship title for the second year in a row.

Making a name for herself as one of the most consistent swim, bike and run athletes, Duffy’s Grand Final gold ended a season that saw her claim six WTS races in the year, that all aided in her repeat world honour.

Duffy said of her win: “I am pretty reluctant to ever say you can have a perfect race, but I would say today went just how I wanted it to. I had a great swim and set myself up perfectly for the bike. I tried to play it safe on the bike because there is so much on the line and then on the run I felt pretty strong, so I wanted to go for it. Yeah, it was a great day. I just try to make it a swim, bike and run. Not a swim, get through the bike and then onto the run. So maybe it is forcing everyone to be really good at all three, but that is how I want to race a triathlon, I just love to race.”

Coming in second place in the race was USA’s Katie Zaferes, who also had a strong overall performance from start to finish. With the result, she pushed her way into the third overall spot in the rankings to take the final place on the world championship podium; a career first for Zaferes.

“I am so excited. I told Flora (Duffy) when I finished that ‘you might have won, but I feel like I did.’ I am one more up from last year, so I just keep making my way,” she said of getting third in the overall season.
The bronze medal then went to Jessica Learmonth (GBR), who earned in Rotterdam her second WTS medal of her career.

Learmonth said, “It was hard from start to finish to be honest. I didn’t feel very comfortable throughout, I know I led out of the swim and stuff, but on the bike Flora (Duffy) and Katie (Zaferes) were so strong I was really struggling. I didn’t know how the run was going to go, I felt alright but my back was really stiff and the back of my calf hurt towards the end, but it was just a battle to hold on.”

One of strongest performances of the day came from Aussie Ashleigh Gentle, who despite being down by over three minutes on the bike, had the run of her life to finish sixth, which was the exact position needed in order for her to maintain her second-place spot on the world championship podium. The silver overall Series trophy was a career first and best for Gentle.

“I am very pleased. I didn’t really know what this year would bring. I had a lot of changes, I relocated to Wollongong to work with Jamie Turner, I had my longest stint in Europe this year doing more WTS races than I have ever done before so I am just absolutely thrilled with getting second,” Gentle said.

Despite the rain that occurred for the majority of the day, as the women lined up to start the sky began to clear and they were met with clear weather conditions.

Learmonth led out of the water after the first lap and despite the additional 750-metres, there was no change in the
water after the second lap as well. Learmonth was the swim leader on the day, making it her fourth time this year and eighth of her career that she has led out of the water in a WTS race. Duffy and Zaferes were not far behind.
Duffy, Learmonth and Zaferes utilized time from a swift transition to get out ahead. Mimicking the situation that happened in WTS Stockholm just weeks earlier, the three rode as a leading trio and worked on gaining as much ground on the bike as they could.

By the time the bike reached the lap section of the course, the trio had a lead of 30 seconds over a chase group of seven women that had formed. These seven, included Joanna Brown (CAN), Jodie Stimpson (GBR), Kirsten Kasper (USA), Taylor Spivey (USA), Summer Cook (USA), Alice Betto (ITA) and Rachel Klamer (NED).

While the seven tried hard to close the gap, the strength and speed from the leaders was too much and the margin only increased. Heading into T2 that gap was close to two minutes.

A second larger chase group also saw big names in the bunch, such as Gentle and Nicola Spirig (SUI), who was racing in her first WTS race since having a baby only months ago. This group however had an over three-minute deficit going into T2.

The three-woman breakaway was the perfect set-up for Flora to then hammer away on the run. She took off once on her feet and then it was over from there.

She took the opportunity to gain the ground she needed to bring it home and get the finish tape and the world crown.
From there the only deciding factor who would finish out the podium. Zaferes finished around 40 seconds after Duffy, which bumped her ahead of Andrea Hewitt (NZL) in the rankings.
Learmonth finished third for the race and then Gentle had one of the fastest runs of the day to get her into sixth place and keep the second-place spot in the rankings.

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Mario Mola Repeats World Championship Title in Rotterdam

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Keeping the world title for the nation of Spain for the fifth year in a row, a third-place finish at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam was enough to grant Mario Mola a back-to-back ITU World Triathlon Championship crown in a season-best performance. With the repeat title, Mola became only the second man in ITU history since the inception of the WTS to ever win two-straight world titles.

Winning the Grand Final race gold was France’s Vincent Luis, who claimed his first WTS victory of the season. Luis’s win came from a dominating and dramatic run effort, after breaking away from a powerful lead pack in the final metres to seize the event gold.

The silver medal went to Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), who once again, had one of the best run performances in the race to fly past the competition that he ran with stride for stride for the whole ten-kilometre course. With his second-place finish, he advanced 271 points over South Africa’s Richard Murray to take the third spot on the overall World Championship podium.

Crossing the line in fourth, Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) secured enough points to guarantee his place in the rankings to be named second overall in the season and the runner-up world champion.

Mola said of how it sounds to be a two-time World Champion: “It sounds great. I can’t describe it with words. You are always nervous before a race, no matter what the situation or where you are, I am sure you are going to have those nerves in order to perform well. I knew I was in a good situation, I wish I could race every year with these kinds of points going into the Grand Final and this type of situation, but I knew I had to race very well or else it was not going to be easy. But it was the title, so that is what I tried to do.”

Luis commented on his season best race victory: “I didn’t expect that. It was a tough year, there was a lot of tough up and downs, a lot of downs. I couldn’t imagine having a win at the Grand Final. I spent like two or three months of this year injured so I could not work, I just can’t believe it. I just worked so hard that it feels amazing.”

After crossing off the junior men and U23 women races earlier in the day, the elite men prepared to battle it out on the course for the first set of elite grand final honours. Rain and cold weather was touch and go throughout the morning, so by the time of the elite men’s start the conditions caused a wet course. However, the rain did let up in time for the starting drum.

Early strategy saw that all of the Spaniards position themselves on one side of the pontoon, with Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) choosing to dive in on the opposite side.
Richard Varga (SVK) led out of the swim in the first lap, but the first 750 metres didn’t do much to space out the field. Brownlee and Gomez remained among the top of the field in the waters, trying like ever to remain out in front.

Varga continued his lead after lap two as well and collected his 33rd time in his career that he exited the waters as the swim leader.

The rest of the field followed not far behind, including Brownlee who finished only eight seconds back, despite losing his swim goggles on the second lap. Mola found himself 26 seconds back, which was the best swim of the season for the Spaniard.

Heading out onto the bike, a group of 15 men including Brownlee, Gomez, Marten Van Riel (NED), Ben Kanute (USA), Wian Sullwald (RSA), Varga, Eric Lagerstrom (USA), Pierre Le Corre (FRA) tried to get an early lead. But a large chase pack that was being handled by Blummenfelt caused a merging of the two groups, so that by lap two a big peloton was formed containing 33 names and all the big players in the mix.

Without any successful breakaways, the whole pack entered the second transition together. Putting pedal to the medal once on foot, Brownlee and Blummenfelt blasted away to try to get the edge. While the two, who come from regions where the cold weather climate works to their favour, attempted to keep their lead, it took just a couple kilometres for Gomez and Luis to catch them and create a small group of four men.

Mola then came charging through in sixth place. Knowing it was a world title on the line, it was only moments before Mola then pushed his way right into the lead pack of four. From there his title was almost secured, since he only needed to finish in the top five to lock in his repeat world crown.

The pack surged on, with Murray running in sixth but unable to catch the leaders. Then in the last lap Luis started to change the pace and he broke away from the others in the final moments to claim the Grand Final race win.

Blummenfelt then came just seconds after, kicking in joy with the result that granted him the final spot on the overall Series podium.

Blummenfelt said, “It is obviously a great feeling. That was the goal overall before my season, to get on the podium overall. I started not as I wanted with the DNF in Abu Dhabi and then some not 100% performances, so at the beginning of the year I didn’t know how easy it would be to get on the overall podium. I just have been training well and believing in the process, so it’s good.”

Mola then followed in for third, smiling as usual knowing he could claim a second straight world crown.

Finishing fourth then in the day was Gomez, who earned another Series podium spot. “I am very pleased with this year, I was focused on different distances and still managed to get the silver medal,” he said.

1. Vincent Luis FRA FR 01:51:26
2. Kristian Blummenfelt NOR NO 01:51:28
3. Mario Mola ESP ES 01:51:36
4. Javier Gomez Noya ESP ES 01:51:41
5. Jonathan Brownlee GBR GB 01:51:52
6. Richard Murray RSA ZA 01:52:06
7. Pierre Le Corre FRA FR 01:52:31
8. Joao Pereira POR PT 01:52:32
9. Andreas Schilling DEN DK 01:52:33
10. Thomas Bishop GBR GB 01:52:34
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Matt Hauser Produces A Gold Winning Performance in Rotterdam

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Queensland’s rising triathlon star Matt Hauser has continued Australia’s golden run at the ITU World Championships Grand Final with a stunning world junior title win in a rainy Rotterdam earlier today.

Hauser, 19, secured Australia’s third gold medal of the Championships, coming 24 hours after paratriathletes Katie Kelly and Emily Tapp claimed gold in their classes yesterday.

With three races remaining today, the Under 23 women and the Men’s and Women’s Elite races, Australia has won three gold, two silver and one bronze in what has already been a successful Championships.

The talented teen from Hervey Bay, who moved to the Gold Coast to chase his triathlon dreams two years ago under coach Dan Atkins, finally dispelled the disappointment of 2016.

Hauser finished 45th in the corresponding World Championship race in Cozumel, Mexico last year after finishing fifth in a swim-less race in Chicago in 2015 – his career very much at a crossroads.

But 12 months later and after turning his career around in a big way, under Atkins, Hauser now forms part of an exciting new generation of male triathlon stars and the win comes the morning after team mate Luke Willian’s brave bronze in the Under 23 World Championship race.

Hauser has become a rare two-time World Champion in the same year adding his junior crown to the newest Olympic event, the Mixed Team Relay title he won with Birtwhistle, Ashleigh Gentle and Charlotte McShane in Hamburg in July.

Hauser and Willian have continued to put pressure on the Elite Australians, Rio Olympians Aaron Royle and Ryan Bailie in the race to join already nominated Birtwhistle for next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

And it more than makes up for the bitter disappointment he suffered at last year’s world championships in Cozumel.

Hauser handled the wet, slippery and tricky conditions like a true pro – conditions that claimed some riders who crashed early in the bike on the narrow, cobblestoned roads of Europe’s famous port city.

The strongly built Hauser was first out of the water after the 750m swim, positioning himself perfectly with a group of 12 that circled the city streets as the rain increased, making conditions increasingly dangerous.

And after surviving the 20km four lap bike circuit he wasted no time charging out of transition with that determined look in his eyes when he attacked the run with the world title in his sights.

And after the first 2.5km run lap Hauser had opened up a 12 second lead and at that point he was never going to be headed, running away with the gold by 28 seconds to claim the victory over Vasco Vilaca (Portugal) and Ben Dijkstra (Great Britain) taking bronze.

Hauser went through the course in 55mins 54seconds, Vilaca in 56.22 and Dijkstra in 5.35 and was full of praise for his coaches.

“Since I moved to the Gold Coast to join Dan Atkins from my first coach Brian Harrington I’ve had a great lot of mentors and coaches with me along the way,” said Hauser.

“To be able to get this win, and to (now) start my career after this win it’s more of a relief than anything after a poor year last year.

“It’s really positive, a two time world champion in the one year is fantastic and a great honour.

“I’ve been building up 12 months for this. Being able to get some redemption from last year’s poor result is fantastic.

“Full credit to my coach Dan and all the guys on the Gold Coast for helping me and pushing me through.

“Today positioning on the bike was everything and I was able to have the legs in the end.
“Basing ourselves in the Basque country in Spain with coach Jamie Turner’s group in the lead off has certainly paid off.

“It was critical on the bike and I managed that up front with a couple of the Norwegians and that worked out well.

“I knew if I got through transition I would be well placed with my run and my legs were feeling good.

“I just executed the process and everything worked out well for me on the day. It has been a 12-month preparation for me and I have had a few setbacks, but it has been great year all-around in total.”

The two other Australians in the race, rookie Lorcan Redmond (NSW) claimed 20th on debut in an encouraging start to his international career while Nicholas Free gave away 30 seconds in transition to finish 30th.

Hauser becomes only the fourth Australian to win the ITU World Junior Championship – joining Ben Bright (1994), Chris Hill (1995) and Olympian Courtney Atkinson (1999) and the first Aussie on the podium since Birtwhistle (silver) and Calvin Quirk (bronze) in Edmonton in 2014.

 

1. Matthew Hauser AUS 00:55:54
2. Vasco Vilaca POR 00:56:22
3. Ben Dijkstra GBR 00:56:35
4. James Chantler GBR 00:56:41
5. Vetle Bergsvik Thorn NOR 00:56:43
6. Barclay Izzard GBR 00:56:44
7. Csongor Lehmann HUN 00:56:50
8. Endre Espedal NOR 00:56:57
9. Javier Romo Oliver ESP 00:57:00
10. Simon Westermann SUI 00:57:12
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Taylor Knibb repeats Junior World Title in Rotterdam

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In a dominating performance showcasing once again her power on the bike, USA’s Taylor Knibb claimed a repeat junior women’s title at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam

In a dominating performance showcasing once again her power on the bike, USA’s Taylor Knibb claimed a repeat junior women’s title at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam.

Despite not racing much due to her focusing on her first year of University, Knibb competed in select World Triathlon Series races at the elite level, where her talent and improvement from those races was highlighted today out on the junior stage.

Hammering away on the bike in order to break away from a chase pack, saw Knibb riding solo for almost all of the 20-kilometre bike course, before finishing the five-kilometre run untouched to walk away with the second consecutive junior world title.

Knibb said about winning her second title, “Yes, it is a bit of a surprise, I didn’t know it was going to happen in the race, so I am just really grateful.”

“I saw that Kate (Waugh) was closing the gap on me so I freaked out and ran hard, so it really made me earn it. I was a great race and she (Waugh) had an amazing race,” Knibb said.

Claiming the silver and stepping on her first world championship podium was Great Britain’s Kate Waugh, while the bronze went to Japan’s Fuka Sega who had a breakthrough race from start to finish.

Filling almost the entire dive pontoon, a large roster of 70 women lined up to partake in the quest for the junior world crown. With a slight chop in the Mass river, Japan’s Sega managed to get the edge and exit the waters first. Just a short 12 seconds behind saw the likes of a huge pack of women charging through the first transition to start the bike leg.

While Knibb found herself among the shuffle after the swim, it took only a matter of moments before she worked her way up to Sega to ride as a leading twosome for the first lap. However, Knibb has worked in power duos in the past, such as elite bike powerhouse Flora Duffy so it came as no surprise when she then exceeded past Sega on the second lap to pull out in the lead.

Knibb held onto the top spot through the rest of the bike leg, despite a small pack of women trailing her that contained the likes of Waugh, Sega, Therese Feuersinger (AUT), Hannah Knighton (NZL) and Olivia Mathias (GBR).

Heading into the second transition, Knibb’s lead was around 30 seconds. However, the women in the first chase group had some strong running legs and Waugh managed to scare the gap down to about 20 seconds.

Knibb’s lead maintained and she entered the finish chute smiling as she grabbed the tape for the second straight year. Waugh then followed 16 seconds later, while Sega was about another 30 seconds from that to claim the bronze.

Results: Junior Women
1. Taylor Knibb USA 01:01:22
2. Kate Waugh GBR 01:01:38
3. Fuka Sega JPN 01:02:05
4. Therese Feuersinger AUT 01:02:24
5. Hannah Knighton NZL 01:02:24
6. Olivia Mathias GBR 01:02:42
7. Lena Meißner GER 01:02:55
8. Desirae Ridenour CAN 01:03:02
9. Hye Rim Jeong KOR 01:03:05
10. Kira Hedgeland AUS 01:03:15
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Luke Willian Scores Bronze in U23 World Championship in Rotterdam

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Cool headed triathlete Luke Willian is hoping his “never say die” attitude will be enough to earn him a place on next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games triathlon team.

Even if there were any doubts about the 21-year-old’s ability to rise to the occasion, dig deep or to overcome adversity they were quickly dispelled with a well-deserved bronze medal in the Under 23 ITU World Championship in Rotterdam overnight.

It was a bronze medal that could quite easily have been gold after Willian was forced to serve a 15 seconds penalty before the last lap of the run.

Eventually it was a French 1-2 with Raphael Montoyer out sprinting fellow countryman Dorian Coninx for the gold, with Willian locking the second fastest 10km run of the day, just behind Montoyer.

And for Willian, sixth in the Commonwealth Games trial on the Gold Coast early in the year, after winning the Mooloolaba World Cup, it was simply a case of “when your number is up.”

He saw his number on the penalty box whiteboard on the second lap of the bike and found out later it was for losing his swim cap in the first 20 metres after exiting the water in T1.

And he chose to serve his penalty at the end of the third of four run laps and as the French pair Dorian Coninx and Raphael Montoyer were plotting and weaving their way to the blue carpet.

“It had been Coninx and another Frenchman Leo Bergere who had broken away on the bike and a chase group, which had narrowed down to 11 and including Montoyer and Willian,” said the cool-headed kid.

“I’d had a solid swim and from where I knew I was able to catch up to those guys on the bike and even those two boys who got away up the road,” said Willian.

“It was pretty hard on that last lap to close that down and then through T2 to close that gap down but I tried as hard as I could through doing some simple things right like getting my shoes on quick to try and reduce the deficit.

“I pushed hard on the run and Montoya and I worked really well; we actually caught them both (Coninx and Bergere) and pushed hard.

“It was hard because I knew I had the penalty to serve from about the second lap on the bike and I just thought I had to get up the road as far as I could, even if they came with me.

“I thought to myself I’ve just got to try; anything to try and get away and to stay up there.

“I took the penalty on the third lap which was hard and I had to watch them run away.

“Then another competitor ran past me and I pushed hard to pass him and to try and catch leaders with 800 to go but they started hitting it up and I just couldn’t close the gap any more after getting to within four seconds of them.

“After trying so hard it was tough to take; my cap fell off as I was coming out of the water into T1 and when I saw my number it was a bit annoying.

“People’s caps fall off all the time and it got pretty rough going around that first bouy but I’ve come along way working on those processes and getting them right.

“It’s paying off; I am learning how to race when things go wrong and to still get results.

“I’m still going to learn and I’ll continue to learn for the next five years; I’ll keep learning and I’ll enjoy it.

“I will now head home and race Noosa and I would love nothing more than to make a home Commonwealth Games that would be like the cherry on top after the year I’ve already had, so fingers crossed.

“If I make it will be a dream come true and if I don’t then I know there will be a next time.”

Willian’s bronze came after Australia’s two gold to paratriathletes, vision impaired Rio golden girl Katie Kelly with guide Michellie Jones and wheelchair athlete Emily Tapp both claimed gold and Justin Godfrey and Sally Pilbeam, silvers in a strong opening day for the Australians.

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