Australia’s rising superstar Ashleigh Gentle delivered on the biggest stage this morning, along with fellow Australian Peter Kerr who beat off a world class field to claim victories in the 30th Anniversary Noosa Triathlon this morning.
21-year-old Gentle, a former world junior champion, stormed home in the 10km run leg, recording a scorching time of 33.49, ahead of fellow Australian Felicity Sheedy Ryan and Great Britain’s Liz Blatchford.
Gentle was installed as a pre race favourite but was stunned with the win today.
“That was definitely one tight race. I didn’t expect that, I was feeling average but once I started to get going I felt a lot better,” Gentle said.
Gentle came out of the water in lead pack but remained cautious of the wet conditions during the 40km cycle leg.
“As soon as I jumped on my bike I was cursing the rain especially because I have only been training on the time trial bike for ten days.
“We were being told to be careful as it was wet so I was really cautious on the corners. I would rather stay on my bike and lose a few seconds than come off.
Blatchford and Steffen controlled the bike leg and at the changeover ran out of transition onto the final leg.
It took Gentle until the second part of the 10km run to take the lead.
“At the 5km mark in the run, I was pushing hard. I knew Felicity Sheedy-
yan is a fantastic runner so I knew I had to keep my pace on and didn’t let her catch me. I wanted to keep my distance.
2012 marked Gentle’s first full season racing on the ITU World circuit as a senior and was thrilled to cap her year off with the win today.
“You just have to work with the people you’re with and hopefully you’re gaining time on the leaders.”
“It is an honour to be standing here. This is the Noosa Tri, a Queenslander has to be up there on the podium and I am very pleased that I can be that person.
“The crowds are incredible and I am so thankful for their support,” she added.
With a strong season behind her Gentle is looking forward to a break, but is already eyeing off Rio Olympic selection.
“After a three week break I will be ready and motivated to sit down with my coach and discuss 2013.
“I will sit down with my coach and think about the races I want to do but Rio is definitely something to think about for me.”
In the men’s race, an emotional Kerr claimed victory 11 seconds ahead of Queenslander Ryan Fisher and Taylor Cecil who placed second and third respectively.
“The emotion for me is coming from a year of nothing to this, winning Noosa Tri. There is a huge list of big names that win Noosa, and now I am one of them,” said 24-year old Kerr from Warrnambool.
“This is going to give me a big boost – the prize money is going to help me stick around for another three years. At the end of this year I was honestly thinking on retiring so this win is just fantastic.
“There have been some big names that have won this event, people I’ve looked up to and there are people who have really helped me get here. Without the support I’ve been given over the past few years I wouldn’t be in the sport,” he added.
Despite his doubts of continuing in the sport, Kerr was determined to make an impact on the Noosa course.
“This year, I absolutely wanted to win. So I just put in six weeks of sure hard work, I’m really stoked.
“I’ll be back next year to defend the title,” he added.
Brisbane’s Ryan Fisher scored his best elite result to finish second in the famous event.
“This is a good note to end my season on. All the big names come up here to race in Noosa, I loved racing here today,” he said.
Current IRONMAN World Champion Pete Jacobs finished the race in 26th position in a time of 2:00:55.
“It’s been three weeks since Kona and I really haven’t done anything since then. I was really surprised when I came out of the water with the front pack but I had a slightly slower transition and I just didn’t have the speed to go with the front pack on the bike.
“At the end of the day I was really happy I could finish, it was fun out there. I was pleased I made it in OK shape and happy to finish. Noosa is always a great, fun event,” said Jacobs.
Triple IRONMAN World Champion Craig Alexander was behind after the swim and went hard out on the bike chasing the lead pack, before taking a fall in the wet conditions.
“I’m a bit banged up by I’ll live,” Alexander said.
“I was 25 to 30 seconds behind after the swim and was chasing hard to catch them but should have paid more attention to the wet conditions. I came down at the roundabout 7km into the bike leg.
“I’ve only got a bit of bark off the hip and elbow along with a bruised ego. I’ll come good by tonight for the party,” he added.
Amongst them were a bevy of sporting heroes and celebrities including Noosa Triathlon Hall of Fame inductee Emma Carney, winning her category (and Bondi Rescue Boys Andrew ‘Reidy’ Reid, Adriel ‘Bacon’ Young and Clint Kimmins. ‘Bacon’ claimed 3rd in his age group (Male 25 – 29 years) with a time of 2.01.31.
“That was absolutely unbelievable. Although I did crash on the bike, it was pretty wet and I’ve never ridden in the wet. I wasn’t going to but I used the brakes on the bike the whole way down that hill.
“I just wanted to get across the line in under 2.20 so I’m stoked with my time,” said Young.
Carney who currently holds the elite female course record, returned to Noosa to celebrate the 30th Anniversary, winning her age group category (Female 40 -44) in a time of 2:20:11.
Hot, humid and wet conditions tested athletes today with over 8500 individual and team competitors taking in the 1.5km swim 40km cycle and 10km run on one of Australia’s most famed triathlon courses.
1. Peter Kerr Warrnambool, VIC 1:46:35
2. Ryan Fisher Kenmore Hills, QLD 1:46:51
3. Taylor Cecil Broadbeach Waters, QLD 1:47:25
4. Courtney Atkinson Mermaid Waters, QLD 1:47:39
5. Kris Gemmell New Zealand 1:48:03
6. Joseph Lampe Lennox Head, NSW 1:48:29
7. Sam Betten Alderley, QLD 1:48:50
8. Cameron Good Fairlight, NSW 1:48:57
9. Christopher McCormack Burraneer, NSW 1:49:15
10. Bryce McMaster New Zealand 1:49:15
1. Asheleigh Gentle Robina, QLD 1:58:57
2. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan Wembley, WA 2:00:24
3. Liz Blatchford Great Britain 2:00:41
4. Caroline Steffen Switzerland 2:01:05
5. Nicky Samuels New Zealand 2:02:14
6. Felicity Abram Southbank, QLD 2:02:28
7. Melissa Hauschildt Indooroopilly, QLD 2:02:57
8. Lisa Marangon Vaucluse, NSW 2:05:09
9. Sarah Crowley Brisbane, QLD 2:06:25
10. Kirralee Seidel Buderim, QLD 2:06:49
A full set of results are available from the website at www.noosatri.com.au.