Ashleigh Gentle made it three in a row while Dan Wilson took the men's race at the 34th running of Australia's iconic Noosa Triathlon.
October 30, 2016 | NEWS|
The Noosa Triathlon claims to be the biggest triathlon in the world and with over 8,000 racers it is hard to argue this point. In it’s 34th edition, the race has an enviable honor roll, and idyllic location and a race course that is fast and compact giving spectators plenty of opportunity to watch the action on race day.
The day dawned perfect and, with water temperatures exceeding the limits, wetsuits were discarded, a minor inconvenience given the plus 24 degree aquatic conditions.
Getting through the shore break was the first test which confronted all the athletes. As the swim unfolded it was clear that Dan Wilson and Josh Amberger had a mindset to get it done in the water. And get it done they did - with a quick dip and dash the pair exited the water with a lead of over 30 seconds.
Onto the bike Wilson and Amberger pushed the pace, extending their lead to over a minute on a chase group that included Jacob Birtwhistle and Ryan Fisher, who were content to watch each other as they went round the course. It was a ‘blungeonfest’ for the leading two as they whacked the rest of the field into submission with some powerful solo cycling. Their ride was all the more impressive as they took the 12m drafting rule to heart. A fact which could not be said for the chasers.
The run would prove to be the difference with Amberger fading and Birtwhistle showing off his much vaunted speed. But Wilson was not to be denied, maintaining his run form and, with the blue carpet waiting, he ran in to join the honor roll at Australia’s, and the world’s, biggest triathlon.
The women’s race was also a game of patience with defending champion Ashleigh Gentle maintaining her cool as the field slipped away early. The swim broke up quickly as the women set about the task of gapping Gentle, the best runner in the field. It was a good tactic and worked initially. Out of the water it was no surprise to see Danielle DeFrancesco hitting the beach.
The chase group, including Nicky Samuels and Charlotte McShane, got away, leaving Gentle to think her day might have been disappearing up the road. By the end of the bike it was Natalie Van Coevorden, Nicky Samuels and DeFrancesco left in the lead with Gentle facing a deficit that would be tough to overcome.
But this is Ashleigh Gentle’s course and, with her running legs firing, Gentle took to the run with hope of reeling in the leaders. And that she did. Gentle took the lead and with that went on for win number four in this race. Her win a brilliant effort and balance of patience and strength.
Phil Wrochna is the Owner /Founder firstoffthebike.com