The action-packed schedule kicked off with the women’s Australian Open Criterium, with the 23 cyclists battling it out over a 30 minute plus three-lap race on the compact course finishing on Noosa Parade.
Tasmania’s Lauren Perry took the title, ahead of Jessica Pratt and Rachael Wales, with the top three breaking away from the field and holding on to fill the podium.
“That was huge, anyone who knows me knows how long it’s been since I’ve had a win, especially on the road, for my team to back me today was great,” said Perry. “It was a surprise for me, I was struggling and hadn’t contributed much to the team so I thought this was my time to do something and it happened to be that that was the break.
“I just did everything to recover from the struggle I had earlier,” she said. “I worked with the girls that I broke away with, we worked really well and committed to the break which was really cool.”
Next on the program was the ASICS Noosa Bolt, with some of the country’s top runners facing off over the 5km race, with spectators lining the course in Noosa.
Two-time Olympian Ryan Gregson won the men’s race, narrowly edging out Jack Bruce, with Louis McAfee third.
The London 2012 and Rio 2016 representatives impressed in the 63-runner field, claiming his first ASICS Noosa Bolt title.
“This is a race that I’ve never won but I’ve always wanted to and it just means so much to me, my wife was commentating and it was nice to get a win today,” said Gregson. “I’ve got the Bridge to Brisbane next Sunday and that’s 10km, a bit longer, this is a great sign for that and I can’t wait.
“It was a tough race, not everyone was able to come but Queensland and South Australia where most were from today have some great short distance runners these days and it was a really strong field and I’m so happy,” he said.
Tokyo 2020 Olympian Izzi Batt-Doyle claimed the women’s ASICS Noosa Bolt crown, with the Adelaide-based athlete finishing ahead of Caitlin Adams and Olga Firsova.
“I’m pretty happy, I didn’t have a great race last weekend so it was really nice to come back and get the win and feel good again,” said Batt-Doyle. “I only booked flights on Wednesday night so it was a pretty short-term preparation but I’ve been training since I did two weeks of quarantine after the Olympics, I’ve been training for eight weeks and I’m ready to go, I just needed to mentally get back into it, not running so well last week really fired me up for today.
“I’ve actually never been to Noosa before so I’m really pumped to be here, Noosa is an awesome place and it’s incredible to be here,” she said. “I want to do triathlons now, this event is so well run, the people are so lovely and it was just so much fun having crowds lining the bends to race which is something you don’t get very often in athletics, it was pretty cool.
Batt-Doyle enjoyed the tight competition in the 16-runner women’s field, pushing ahead late in the race to claim the title.
“It was tough competition, it always is, Caitlin is a great competitor, some of the other girls in there they were really strong today,” she said. “It was a different kind of race in the heat today, the group was still together on the third lap whereas usually, it might stretch out with the variation in the levels of athletes, but it was really quite close today which was a lot of fun.”
Wrapping up Super Saturday was the men’s Australian Open Criterium, contested over 45 minutes plus three laps.
The title came down to a sprint finish, with Queensland’s Liam Walsh prevailing ahead of Zack Gilmore and Kane Richards.
“This is a really big Crit, the last time I was here I came off at the last corner with three laps to go so it was nice to make amends,” said Walsh. “I tried to make sure that any group that got ahead got brought back and we were mostly in one big group, it was good to have numbers so we could all do the work, rather than having to do it myself.
“It’s the first big win of my career, I’ve come close in a few National Championships so it’s a breakthrough and feels really good,” he said. “This is a big race, particularly in Australia, amongst Road Nationals it’s the biggest Crit in the country so to go on the honour roll is unbelievable.”
Noosa Triathlon is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
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.