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Gentle and Alarza claim ITU Junior World Titles, Brown gets third

2010 Age group champions determined.

It’s been an incredible weekend for the Australian women’s triathlon team, winning ITU World Championships in the Elite, Under 23 and Junior (16-19) categories. Only one hour after Emma Moffatt earned her second consecutive Elite world title, 19-year-old Ashleigh Gentle took top honors in the Junior World Championship race, sprinting away from the rest of the field on the 5K run.

“I didn’t know that Emma won the world championship,” Gentle said at the finish. “I was in the water swimming when her race was finishing so this is great to hear that we swept all three categories!”

The win didn’t come easy for Gentle, who started the race in 33rd place after the 750-meter swim in Lágymányosi Bay along the banks of the River Danube. The Aussie found herself with a solid pack of cyclists, however, and was able to ride up to the front group on the 20K bike leg.

Just as teammate Emma Jackson had done in the U23 race a day before, Gentle flew out of the second transition to take the early lead on the run. She never looked back, clocking an amazing 16:42 run split to win in 57:48. Next to cross the line was Germany’s Charlotte Bauer, who finished just over one minute back of Gentle. Bauer held off a hard-charging Joanna Brown of Canada, who came from 41st place at T2 to finish third overall.

The men’s race was a much tighter contest, coming down to three-man race between Spain’s Fernando Alarza, Briton Thomas Bishop and American Kevin McDowell. Alarza had the strongest legs at the end of the run, surging away in the final stretch to take the win in 52:15. Bishop held off McDowell for second, finishing three seconds back of Alarza.

Bishop, a training partner of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, was quick to credit his teammates for helping him earn the silver medal.

“I get to train with both Brownlees on a daily basis and I see how hard

they train,” Bishop said. “It’s so motivating to be around them on a regular basis.”

Top 10 Junior Women (750-metre swim, 20K bike, 5K run)

1. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 57:48

2. Charlotte Bauer (GER) 58:52

3. Joanna Brown (CAN) 59:07

4. Kelly Whitley (USA) 59:21

5. Yuka Sato (JPN) 59:29

6. Neiske Becks (NED) 59:34

7. Tanelle Berard (USA) 59:46

8. Theresa Baumgartel (GER) 59:50

9. Amy Roberts (AUS) 59:51

10. Annika Vossing (GER) 59:55

12. Christine Ridenour (CAN) 59:58

Top 10 Junior Men

1. Fernando Alarza (ESP) 52:15

2. Thomas Bishop (GBR) 52:18

3. Kevin McDowell (USA) 52:22

4. Lukas Verzbicas (USA) 52:36

5. Ron Darmon (ISR) 52:36

6. Ryan Fisher (AUS) 52:47

7. Vicente Hernandez (ESP) 52:56

8. Anthony Pujades (FRA) 53:00

9. Matthew Sharpe (CAN) 53:02

10. Andreas Schilling (DEN) 53:06

16. Alexander Hinton (CAN) 53:24

21. Stewart Cole (CAN) 53:32

ITU Age Group World Championships in Budapest

Over 2,800 age-group triathletes representing 67 nations came to beautiful Budapest to vie for the title of 2010 ITU Triathlon World Champion. After two exciting days of racing, Age Group World Champions have been crowned in both the Sprint-and Olympic-distance categories.

The Sprint competitors were the first to race, starting their day in wet and chilly conditions in the Hungarian capital on Saturday. New Zealand started the day on a high note, sweeping the 16-19 category. Penny Hayes took the women’s title, topping teammate Danielle McKenzie, while Kiwi Robert Huisman took top honors in the men’s race.

While the Kiwis were unbeatable in the youngest category, the rest of the day was all about Great Britain. The GB team finished first and second in the men’s 20-24 group, with Thomas Perchard and Chris Joyce pulling off the one-two punch. The British team went on to place seven athletes in the top ten in the women’s 25-29, 30-34, 35-39 and 45-49 races. Seven GB athletes also found themselves in the top ten overall in the men’s 35-39 contest.

Another highlight from Saturday’s races was Canadian superstar Paula Findlay’s mom finishing with the bronze medal in the women’s 50-54 category. Sheila Findlay finished the course with an impressive time of 1:15:02.

The fastest time from the first day of action was turned in by Ireland’s Conor Murphy, who won the men’s 25-29 race with a blazing time of 58:36.

Competitors racing in the Olympic-distance event on Sunday were greeted with much milder conditions and even a little sun, which has been a rare sighting in Budapest this week.

The fastest time of the day was turned in by Aussie Michael Prince, who flew through the course in an impressive 1:46:17 to win the men’s 30-34 age group. The next best men’s time was clocked by Briton Ben Howard, who won the 20-24 category in 1:46:41.

On the women’s side, South African Andrea Steyn posted the best overall time of the day, finishing in 1:55:43 to win the 25-29 group. That group turned out to be the fastest today, as Mexico’s Jessica Sanson Gonzalez finished as the runner-up with the second-best overall time (1:56:43).

South Africa also had a strong showing in the men’s 25-29 category, placing three athletes in the top seven overall, led by fourth-place finisher Bjorn Ludick. Britain’s Graham Leitch won the 25-29 category, finishing in 1:47:53.

The 30-34 women’s race was all about Great Britain, with Team GB athletes taking six of the top ten spots. Leading the way was Jill Parker, who won the group in 1:58:02.

Egypt showed promise as an emerging triathlon nation in the men’s 45-49 race, as Ahmed Zaher finished sixth out of 122 athletes in the highly competitive group.

It was North America’s time to shine in the women’s 50-54 race, with Canadian Margaret Ritchie taking top honors in 2:07:00, and five Team USA athletes finishing in the top eight overall.

Team USA also had a strong showing in the women’s 65-69 race, with Elizabeth Brackett putting on a dominating performance to win by over six minutes. Brackett led a group of six U.S. athletes into the top eight.

Click here for complete results from all of the weekend’s races, including the Age Group, Junior, U23, Paratriathlon and Elite events.