Gen­tle gun­ning for his­toric win

Multisport Mecca - - Noosa Tri - Steele Tay­lor

FIVE-time cham­pion Ash­leigh Gen­tle head­lines a stel­lar field at Noosa Triathlon when she at­tempts to make his­tory.

The 27-year-old will try to be­come the first fe­male ath­lete to win six edi­tions of the iconic race, sur­pass­ing Emma Fro­deno (nee Snowsill).

An­other win would also draw her level with the men’s all-time leader Craig Wal­ton.

Gen­tle won the World Triathlon Se­ries grand fi­nal on the Gold Coast last month.

“So she’s in great form to go for that num­ber six win,” Noosa Triathlon head of op­er­a­tions Re­becca van Pooss said.

“I think the course lends it­self well to her style of rac­ing. She’s a great run­ner. We’ve seen dur­ing the last cou­ple of years she’s come off the bike a lit­tle bit back from the front of the pack but has caught up in the run so the flat, fast run course we’ve got here works in her favour.”

Gen­tle has won the past four edi­tions of the race.

She will be joined on the start line by the likes of Annabel Lux­ford and Liz Blatch­ford, with the lat­ter likely to fea­ture in her last elite race af­ter a stel­lar ca­reer.

The Coast will be rep­re­sented by Kirra Seidel, while young­ster Romy Wol­s­ten­croft makes her first ap­pear­ance at Noosa in the elite ranks.

“They’re re­ally strong men’s and women’s fields,” van Pooss said.

“I think it’s the lure of the Noosa Tri. We’re the world’s largest stan­dard dis­tance triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km ride, 10km run) and we have a fairly de­cent prize purse for the elites and they love rac­ing at home.

“They re­ally do en­joy com­ing back here at the end of the Euro­pean sea­son, to come home and fin­ish off and have a great time while they’re here.”

About 8000 par­tic­i­pants are ex­pected to com­pete in the triathlon, across mul­ti­ple age groups, on Sun­day.

There will be other events dur­ing the fes­ti­val, fea­tur­ing some of the coun­try’s best swim­mers, run­ners and cy­clists. Jay McCarthy is set to at­tempt a ti­tle de­fence in the men’s Aus­tralian Open Cri­terium.

PHOTO: MICHAEL DODGE

SET TO RACE: Ash­leigh Gen­tle will at­tempt to win a sixth Noosa Triathlon.

LO­CAL: Romy Wol­s­ten­croft.

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