Gently does for tri win number five
GOLD Coast Commonwealth Games team members Ashleigh Gentle and Jake Birtwhistle used their exceptional leg speed to shut down all challengers and record stunning victories in the 35th running of the iconic Noosa Triathlon.
Ashleigh made it four Noosa titles in a row and five overall, equalling Emma Snowill’s record, while Jake had his breakthrough race, improving on his third and second places of previous years.
The ‘stacked’ men’s and women’s fields ensured that the pressure was on from the gun and the thousands of supporters lining the course were treated to an amazing display by the cream of Australia’s triathletes.
Ashleigh’s fifth title in had far more significance than her previous wins (finishing in 1:59:11) and she dedicated her race to her long time supporter and friend, the late Garth Prowd.
“I looked up to the heavens because Garth was here with us no doubt and he will still be out there until the last person crosses the line. Garth will always be a part of Noosa Tri and I am so happy that I was able to race well and race for him as well.”
Meanwhile for Jake, who won with a time of 1:46:59, victory was an extra boost of confidence ahead of his Commonwealth Games berth with a hard-fought victory in Noosa.
“There’s nowhere to go from now so I guess I just have to keep on winning, right?,” the 22-year-old said.
Best placed among the locals was Coolum’s Ben Shaw who was sixth in a time of 1:49:40, while Casey Munro of Buderim was 12th in 1:55:48.
Among the age groupers, stand out Coast performances came from Ryan Devlin who was third in the men’s 25-29 age group (2:04:17), Zsolt Dallos was eighth in men 35-39 (2:06:52), Sean Clancy finished 12th in open men (2:07:03), Dmitri Simons was second men 45-49 (2:09:22), Jacqui was fifth in open women (2:17:16), Lucy Bowden was fifth women 25-29 (2:19:34), Maureen Cummings was second in women 55-59 (2:35:03) and Barry Meek was third men 70-74 (2:48:37).
In Saturday’s events, a breakaway move didn’t quite work out for Lucy Bechtel in last year’s Women’s Australian Open Criterium but she made the most of it this time around.
The 29-year-old captured one of the biggest wins of her career at Noosa Heads on Super Saturday, when she edged Holly Ranson in a sprint.
In the men’s event, world tour rider Jay McCarthy started his season with a remarkable victory ahead of the Tour Down Under in January.
In the 5km Bolt races, 27-year-old Melissa Duncan claimed the win in 16min 21sec from Eloise Wellings by 17sec while in the men’s race Jordan Williamsz won in 14 min 12 sec from Stewart McSweyn.
Ashleigh Gentle pays tribute to Garth Prowd.