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JOSIAH MIDDAUGH WINS XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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November 1, 2015 (Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii) – Josiah Middaugh, 37, from Eagle-Vail, Colorado and Flora Duffy, 28, from Devonshire, Bermuda won the 20th XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on an incredibly scenic day in Kapalua, Maui.

Josiah Middaugh

Josiah Middaugh Celebrates

It’s the first XTERRA World Title for Middaugh after 15 attempts, and he becomes the first American to win Worlds since Michael Tobin back in 2000.  For Duffy, the win marks a perfect season with five straight wins, her second XTERRA World Championship in a row, and 12th XTERRA major victory in her last 13 attempts since the start of 2014.

Middaugh and Duffy each received $20,000 for their respective victories.  The total purse was $100,000, and the event was filmed for international television distribution.

More than 800 endurance athletes from 43 countries participated in the event, which started in the relatively calm waters of the Pacific Ocean at D.T. Fleming Beach, continued with a 20-mile mountain bike that traversed the West Maui Mountains, and finished with a grueling 6.5-mile trail run. There was more than 4,000-feet of combined climbing on the bike and run courses.

 

MIDDAUGH’S DAY

After 15 years of trying Josiah Middaugh has his world title.

“15th time’s a charm,” Middaugh said to the crowd as he crossed the line, barefoot, holding the finish tape and an American flag with his son Porter and daughter Larsen by his side (his oldest son Sullivan and wife Ingrid were watching in admiration).

“I haven’t planned a single thing beyond this day so this is the end and the beginning right here, it’s amazing.”

The men’s race started out as expected with all the fast swimmers getting an early jump … Courtney Atkinson, Ben Allen, Jens Roth, Mauricio Mendez and Sam Osborne were the first to hit the 20-mile bike course.

What wasn’t expected was how well Middaugh would swim.  He was still two minutes behind the swim leaders, but more importantly he was side-by-side with Ruzafa.  Last year he was 1:41 down on Ruzafa coming out of the water.

“You never know how you are going to feel, you always feel sluggish the morning of the race. I felt good in the water though and I was psyched to come out with Ruben,” said Middaugh.

Those two worked their way to the front of the pack on the bike in no time but after a crash set Middaugh back, Ruzafa pounced.

“I felt really good on the bike,” said Middaugh.  “I was riding with Ruben and then I had a spill on an off-camber corner.  It was a little wet, lost my front tire and went down. It was just enough to lose 20 seconds to Ruben, and I was able to stay in that gap but some people filled in – Paco (Francisco Serrano) and Braden (Currie).  Then I came down and washed out over another corner, turned the handlebars over and was then 45 seconds behind Ruben and I was just trying to keep it.  Last year he put 45 seconds on me on the last five miles, this year he put one-minute on me.  Nothing you can do, he’s an amazing rider.”

Ruzafa did indeed put some time on the pack, but the effort took its toll.

“At the top of the climb I passed Josiah and I put some time into him and arrived 1:45 at T2, but my body was not the same and I exploded on the run,” he explained.

Braden Currie and Francisco Serrano also had their share of misfortune.  For Currie, it was a false alarm.

“I was disappointed with myself on the bike,” said Currie. “Ruben shot past me and got away from me.  Josiah caught me up a long climb and we rode together for a while and then I thought I got a flat but it was just a piece of grass in my spokes, but I stopped to check it out and by the time I looked up Josiah was gone.  That was my chance of holding his wheel, about three-quarters through the bike.”

For Serrano, it was a broken seat that went flying off halfway through the ride.

“My seat went poof, and was gone,” he said.  “I was hurting with no way to sit down, no way to grab water bottles but this is the biggest race of the year so I couldn’t let it go.  I pushed hard and tried to make it to the top five … I was close.”

Indeed he was, finishing 6th just 30 seconds behind Atkinson who ran his way into 5th.

Back to the front of the race, Middaugh was 1:40 down and then went to work.

“I caught Ruben right before the lake at the big climb.  I was making back 20-30 seconds a mile on him.  I was shocked.  Last year he was climbing at the same speed as I was.  I was charging as hard as I could, I was lifting my knees and pumping as hard as I could go and I knew I was coming back on him.  It felt good.”

Middaugh said he also felt inspired.

“I was looking for some shoes to wear for this race because I don’t have a shoe sponsor.  I found the Saucony Shay online.  Ryan was a childhood friend of mine and he was an unbelievable runner. He collapsed and died in the Olympic trials in 2007 and he was the best runner I have ever known.  It was a big inspiration to have those shoes on my feet and I felt like it gave me some wings.”

While Middaugh didn’t post the fastest run – that honor went to Mauricio Mendez and his 40:51 split which propelled him from 8th at T2 to 4th at the finish line – he did have the biggest dream come true.

“A couple years ago I knew I had to win it now,” said Middaugh. “I had to stop saying “one of these years” and start saying “This year…This year I’m going to win this race.  I felt it more than ever this year and knew I could do it, I knew I had to do it.”

Braden Currie, who had been battling with Middaugh all year on the American Tour, turned on the jets in the run and finished runner-up, his best showing yet in Maui.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all.  The last split I got was three minutes down towards the top, and I thought that was that and I was happy with third but then all of a sudden I saw Ruben halfway down the downhill and he was sort of in a box and I think he maybe overheated,” said Currie.

As for Ruzafa, who had his 15-race win streak broken and his chance to become the only elite man to win three in a row disappear, he was just happy to finish.

“When Josiah passed me on the run I had to stay strong just so I could finish,” said Ruzafa.  “Then I started to cramp on the downhill and Braden passed me.  I tried to keep my speed so I could make it to the finish and finally in third is okay this year for me and I’ll try again next year.  Lucky I started to feel better and started running harder again to hold Mauricio back.”

More quotes from the men:

Josiah Middaugh

On getting out to a fast start on the run … “I was going to have to run my ass off to even have a chance so I wanted to take it all back right away to see if I could do it.”

“I crashed twice on the bike, I crashed once on the run.  That’s where I lost Ruben, crashed twice and lost him.”

“I feel it’s people behind me, not people I’m going to let down. They believed in me, I believed in myself and I believed in all the training I’ve done and I felt like I could do it.”

Braden Currie
“I know Josiah is just so consistent and strong.  I was blown away to see Ruben in the run but I also knew he would’ve been pushing his absolute hardest on the bike to get away from us.”

I know I was about 1:10 off Josiah and 2:30 off Ruben into the run.  I thought that was going to be it.

“I got a split of 2:10 at the top of the climb on the run, so Josiah had put 40 seconds on me on the climb so I thought it was pretty hopeless.”

“It was really tough racing.  I know that I made huge improvements and that’s the big thing.  I haven’t taken any step backwards in a few years.  Stoked with my mountain biking now to know that I can match it with those guys and push them hard enough that they are at their absolute limit.  So yeah, Josiah is older than I am and I’ll catch him one day.”

Mauricio Mendez
“I’m really happy.  Moved another step forward (he was 5th last year).  All the time I went hard.”

“I was 8th off the bike and caught Francisco, Courtney, Rom, and not sure who else.”

“That was cool, I was feeling good.  When I was on the beach and saw Ruben so close I tried to catch him but couldn’t.  I’m very grateful.  Looking forward to next year, a top three I hope for and I’ll train for that.”

Courtney Atkinson
“Pretty happy.  Last time I was here I was off about 10 minutes on the bike, today I was about 5 so half is good.  Unless you do that race you have no idea how taxing and hard it is.  You get to another hill on the bike and just say no, it can’t be.”

“XTERRA Maui, its one hell of a race I tell you.  I was very fit this year.  I always said I wanted to race Maui at least one more time while I was competitively fit.  Whether I am competitively fit next year and can come back again and do it who knows, but I’m happy with that, very happy.  Time to party.”

Ben Allen
“One race doesn’t define a season.  Jumped on the bike and just didn’t have the legs.  That’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.  I’ll go back to the drawing board.”

“Josiah always says you don’t really learn anything from winning.  I’ll learn from this and come back and hopefully do better.”

TOP MEN

Pl Name – Age, Hometown Final Time Purse
1 Josiah Middaugh – 37, Eagle-Vail, Colorado 2:35:32 $20,000
2 Braden Currie – 29, Wanaka, New Zealand 2:38:30 $12,000
3 Ruben Ruzafa – 31, Malaga, Spain 2:40:40 $7,000
4 Mauricio Mendez – 20, Mexico City, Mexico 2:40:54 $4,000
5 Courtney Atkinson – 36, Mermaid Waters, QLD, Australia 2:42:27 $2,500
6 Francisco Serrano – 35, Monterrey, Mexico 2:42:57 $1,500
7 Yeray Luxem – 29, Merksem, Belgium 2:44:45 $1,100
8 Rom Akerson – 31, Tambor, Costa Rica 2:45:07 $800
9 Nicolas Fernandez – 32, Pelissane, France 2:46:51 $600
10 Ben Hoffman – 32, Boulder, Colorado 2:49:56 $500

 

Also: Jens Roth, Olly Shaw, Fabien Combaluzier, Ben Allen, Albert Soley, Jan Pyott, Arthur Forissier, Damien Guillemet, Will Ross, Branden Rakita, Pierre-Yves Facomprez, Brodie Gardner, Rodrigo Altafini, Juan Carlos Nieto, Noah Wright, Jim Thijs, Cameron Paul, Rory Downie

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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How To Qualify for Challenge’s The Championship for 2018

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Challenge Family has announced how triathletes can qualify for The Championship 2018, which once again takes place 3rd June, 2018 at the remarkable x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia.

Qualification for The Championship 2018 commenced at Challenge Wanaka in February 2017 and will conclude at Challenge Salou in May 2018

Athletes have the chance to qualify for The Championship 2018 in a further 18 races taking place worldwide

Last year, the world’s top triathletes came together to race Challenge Family’s inaugural The Championship 2017, which took place in Samorin, Slovakia, and attracted an impressive line-up including double Olympic Champion Alistair Brownlee, winner of The Championship 2017 Lionel Sanders, former World Champion Sebastian Kienle, Challenge Gran Canaria winner Emma Pallant and the winner of The Championship 2017 Lucy Charles among others.

Lucy, who eventually triumphed at the event, was full of praise for the course and atmosphere, saying: “The race course was epic this year, and what’s amazing is that even though it was in its first year, the race drew in huge names and huge crowds, and the vibe was just electric. I can’t wait to see what The Championship 2018 brings, especially with so many chances for athletes to qualify.”

For professional athletes, the race carries with it a minimum prize purse of €150,000 and for its return this year, The Championship 2018 has a unique qualifying system in place that means pros will be able to qualify via global Challenge Family events. What’s more, there are still 18 races yet to take place, featuring middle and full distance races, as well as a number of side events, in locations such as Aruba, Melbourne and Brazil. The races are: Challenge Davos Festival, Challenge Iskandar Puteri, Challenge Madrid, Challenge Peguera-Mallorca, Challenge Aruba, Challenge Kanchanaburi, Challenge Forte Village Sardinia, Challenge Shepparton, Challenge Florianopolis, Challenge Wanaka, Challenge Mogan-Gran Canaria, Challenge Melbourne, Challenge Cerrado, Challenge Taiwan, Challenge Rimini, Corporate World Cup at Challenge Lisboa, Challenge Lisboa and Challenge Salou.

It’s not only the pros that will compete next year – all age group athletes have the chance to qualify with a top six age group finish at any global Challenge Family event during the qualification period, the last opportunity of which will be at Challenge Salou in May 2018. Furthermore, the top six teams in the female, male and mixed categories in relay events will also qualify for The Championship at Challenge Family events.

Qualifying slots will roll down in each age group and relay category up to 12th place, however, there will not be a roll down system for professional athletes.

Upon qualifying, the top six teams in each female, male and mixed category in relay events will also qualify for The Championship 2018 team relay. A registration code will be sent to the qualifying age-group athlete (via email), allowing the athlete to complete the online registration form. Each qualifying athlete will then have four weeks to register for The Championship 2018.

Zibi Szlufcik, CEO of Challenge Family, says of The Championship 2018: “We are excited and determined to make next year’s The Championship even better than 2017. With so many Challenge Family races taking place globally, and inclusive qualification system for pro and age grouper athletes, we are sure to attract even more remarkable athletes to the event. Of course, we are thrilled yet again to be working with the incredible x-bionic® sphere, in addition to enforcing the highly regarded 20m draft rule to keep racing fair for all. We look forward to raising an even higher standard in international triathlon.”

The course is carefully curated so that the outstanding venue, x-bionic® sphere, forms the stunning backdrop of the starting, transitioning and finishing stages of the race, providing striking views for both the competing athletes as well as spectators.

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Super League Jersey Men’s Race Preview

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Richard Murray enjoys a lighthearted moment at St. Ouen's Bay on Jersey Island (photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M)

Scores will be settled and champions will arise at Super League Jersey this weekend with 25 of the world’s best male athletes competing. Most of them are reprising their Super League Hamilton Island appearances alongside notable and speedy additions to the roster. Richard Murray, Mario Mola, and Jake Birtwhistle were the top three athletes after the racing on Hamilton Island, which occurred early in the general triathlon season.

Since then, Mola has defended his world title and Birtwhistle has earned a mixed relay world championship alongside his Australian teammates including Matt Hauser, who has now also won a junior world title. Murray was in the running to end the year ranked third in the world and took two bronzes and one silver on the world triathlon circuit. However, in the end, he was bumped down to fourth by Kristian Blummenfelt, who made his mark on Hamilton Island by winning the first two of the three stages in the Eliminator and then racked up three silvers and one bronze on the circuit.

“Super League Hamilton Island was the springboard for many of these men’s epic seasons,” says executive chairman and co-founder Chris McCormack. “They were able to showcase the qualities that have led to their success this year. At Super League Jersey that’s going to make them a target for the athletes who either have a score to settle from the previous event or have never raced them in these formats.”

Jonathan Brownlee is one of those new entrants; after missing Hamilton Island due to injury, the dual Olympic medalist and two-time sprint world champion is raring for a go over the Triple Mix and the Eliminator, the two formats featured in this weekend’s racing. While Brownlee has shown himself a force to reckon with over shorter distances, the even shorter super sprint distances and multiple stages over two days will be a new experience. “The exciting thing is it’s something completely different, completely new,” he says. He looks forward to racing on what he considers home soil. “The British seem to put on incredible sports events. We’ve got lots of people watching and have a good culture of support in sports. And I think Super League will be another great British race.”

With the racing over the Triple Mix format at Super League Jersey, the three stages will mix up the three disciplines of triathlon: Stage 1 is swim-bike-run, Stage 2 is run-bike-swim, and Stage 3 is bike-swim-run. Athletes will need to tap into their speed from the gun in Stage 1 due to the pursuit starts in Stages 2 and 3. They will start the succeeding stages in the order they finished the previous stage, separated by how much time they lost to the preceding finisher. This is slightly different from the mechanics used on Hamilton Island, where athletes started each stage at the same time. “We want to reward the fastest overall on the day, and the pursuit start allows that person to cross the final finish line first,” McCormack reveals.

Had this been done on Hamilton Island, Richard Varga would have won the day thanks to his quick times in the water and on the bike. “I was proud to finish fourth in points after three days of racing on Hamilton Island, but definitely this adjustment in the Triple Mix will suit my strengths,” Varga says.

Day 2 features the Eliminator, where over three stages of swim-bike-run the slowest athletes will be eliminated. Stage 2 will star the Top 15 from Stage 1, while only the Top 10 from Stage 2 will go on to Stage 3. On Hamilton Island, Murray could afford to come in third in Stage 3 as he had already amassed nearly insurmountable points lead from two previous days of racing.

But in Jersey with only two days of racing over which to rack up points from finish standings, it will be imperative not only to survive through to Stage 3 but also finish well.

Ben Kanute is one of the world’s best over the super sprint distance, securing the fastest overall swim-bike-run split in the 2016 mixed relay world championship win he shares with Team USA. Yet it remains to be seen whether he can replicate this feat over multiple stages with a scant 10 minutes between them. He is also coming off a runner-up performance over the half distance two weeks ago, which may impact his fleet-footedness.

“I set out to win every race I start at, so everyone is a target for me,” Kanute says. “Look for me to go off the front on the bike and shake things up. Everyone else out there, just try and hold my wheel.”

With this star-studded and speedy line-up, Super League Jersey could be anyone’s to win. Watch all the action live on www.superleaguetriathlon.com or youtube.com/superleaguetriathlon. The men’s races will stream at 1 pm on September 23rd and at 4 pm on September 24th (all times GMT+1).

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Super League Jersey Women’s Race Preview

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Rachel Klamer looks out onto St. Ouen's Bay on Jersey Island. (photo: Googsi Creative / The Studio M)

Super League Triathlon will make history this weekend as female athletes race its unique formats for the first time at Super League Jersey. “Our race on Hamilton Island earlier this year was an exhibition of what was to come. Super League Jersey is formally the first event of the Super League Triathlon season and we are proud to have the world’s best athletes male and female on our starting line,” says executive chairman and co-founder Chris McCormack.

The first day of racing will feature the Triple Mix, which will test athletes’ adaptability to switch-ups to the traditional swim-bike-run order of triathlon and rewards a willingness and ability to go hard from the gun. The Triple Mix has three stages (swim-bike-run, run-bike-swim, bike-swim-run) and pursuit starts in Stage 2 and 3 that will allow athletes to build a lead from Stage 1 and challenge them to hold onto that lead until the final finish line in Stage 3.

The most challenging may be in Stage 2 and Stage 3, as athletes are unaccustomed to swimming after cycling. “Legs will feel very heavy in that swim,” says McCormack. “Athletes with good swim mechanics and natural speed can get an edge on the competition here, and if they get a big enough gap and can hold onto it, they can very well win the day.”

Two such athletes are Carolina Routier and Lucy Hall, renowned for their prowess in the water. Hall might be the stronger cyclist between the two, but Routier has the better run, a common weakness among fast swimmers. Routier may have the insider’s edge; with fiance and training partner Mario Mola having placed overall runner-up on Hamilton Island, they may have rehearsed such scenarios.

“I’m just excited to give it my best. It’s something we don’t get to do on the regular triathlon circuit and anything can happen,” says Routier.

On the second day, the Eliminator will whittle the field down to the best of the best. Only the top 15 finishers in Stage 1 will proceed to Stage 2, and of those only, the fastest 10 can race Stage 3. Between each stage, the first athlete across the line will have ten minutes to recover, while succeeding athletes will have less time. The previous day’s racing may also play a role in how sprightly the athletes will be.

“The question posed to these athletes is: will they want to expend effort to get to the front and take advantage of a longer rest, or will they just avoid elimination in Stage 1 and 2, conserving the energy to power through to the Stage 3 win?” says McCormack.

In the previous race on Hamilton Island, it was not the veterans Richard Murray or Mario Mola who took the Eliminator win after three stages, but young Jake Birtwhistle who put on a burst of speed in the final 500 meters. From the women’s roster, athletes with a mixed relay world championship pedigree may rule this format, such as Kirsten Kasper (2016 – USA) and Charlotte McShane (2017 – Australia). The distances are similar, with the major difference being the multiple stages and the threat of elimination.

“I definitely think I have the run legs to get to the front of the pack,” says Kasper, a former collegiate cross-country and track star. “But it really depends on staying close enough to strike out for the win. This field is so deep, it’s going to take everything I have.”

London Olympic silver medalist Nicola Spirig and world championship bronze medalist Katie Zaferes will have targets on their backs. As Super League Hamilton Island showed, the big names in Olympic triathlon might not be the ones standing triumphant at the end of the day. Will this prove to be the case in Jersey?

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Super League Jersey Course preview with Ryan Fisher

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Super League this weekend will be nothing like the Hamilton Island event; apart from the excitement and exhaustion of course.

The Jersey course is going to be more tactically challenging for the athletes, with tiny winding corners and narrow roads. Ryan Fisher is in Jersey gearing up for the race, and he’s checked out the course in anticipation for Saturday.

Swim course

The 300-metre course is made up of a simple one-lap course with just two left turns.

“It’s pretty similar to the swim course in Hamilton Island [Super League]” said Fisher, “inside the rock wall where the swim will be, it’s pretty calm.”

Bike course

The bike course is going to be exceptionally tough, with many sections being just four metres wide. The bike course if made up of five laps creating a 5.5km course in total. There are six turns within the bike course and one U-turn.

“It’s really different to Hamilton Island as it’s pancake flat,” said Ryan Fisher. “In areas it’s only 5m wide, but there is no room for getting passed anyone as there’s a wall right there. If you have ten guys together, there are only two spots during each lap where you can pass people.”

The race will be fierce. “It will be corner – sprint – corner – sprint,” said Fisher.

Jersey is notorious (as is much of the UK) for rainy, wet weather, which will make the course even tougher. “There is a cobbled section, which will be very technical with water on it,” said Fisher.

Run course

The run course weaves along the same course as the bike leg, but is only two laps making the total distance 2 km. The Super League team says “it’s a tight, compact course and will be exciting for athletes and for fans.”

 

Thanks to Aussie Ryan Fisher for getting to Jersey early and giving us the inside scoop! We’re so excited for Super League Jersey!

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What you need to know about Super League in Jersey

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Super League is triathlon’s coolest, fastest, flashiest new event and it’s coming to the UK at the end of September. Here are a few of the highlights of Super League’s upcoming event plus the top picks for the podium.

Women’s event launch

Super League is launching its women’s event this month and we couldn’t be more excited. The Super League series was launched on Hamilton Island without a women’s event due to the top female triathletes being unable to attend. Now though, the top women are geared up for this exciting event including Lucy Hall, Emma Pallant, Non Stanford and Katie Zeferes to name just a few.

What’s the Jersey course like?

In the words of founder Chris Macca, “It’s a small, windy and technical course, and it could be cool and wet.” Bring on the excitement!

Why race in September?

Weather will be cooler in Jersey in September, but the water will be at its warmest after being heated throughout the summer months.

Who will win – Women’s?

Macca and Stuart Hayes discussed the fierce start list, and since Hayes coaches Pallant, they took her out of the predictions to eliminate bias.

Macca and Hayes reckon Jodie Stimpson might take out the win as she hasn’t had a hugely busy season and she’s an aggressive athlete.

Nicola Spirig could also be in with a chance at the top spot.

Of course, Emma Pallant is in with a huge chance too. “I’ve never seen anyone train like Emma, except the Brownlee brothers,” said Hayes.

Who will win – Men’s?

Stu is convinced anyone could take out the top spot as the race format is new for almost everyone. “No one has done an Eliminator properly,” said Hayes. Hayes reckons Jonny Brownlee is a likely champion as he hasn’t had a big year as he’s been sidelined with injury and illness.

Richard Varga could be in with a great chance to as he’s a fierce 800m runner.

Hayes thinks all the seasoned athletes shouldn’t ignore the very real threat of the junior athletes who are very used to racing sprint races. “They’re the guys to watch out for,” said Hayes.

Super League is officially the most exciting triathlon race format out there, and we can’t wait for Jersey this month.

Who do you think will win Jersey Super League?

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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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