Australia’s leading triathletes have managed to maintain their top ten rankings despite a tough day in the office in round three of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Yokohama.
Both Aaron Royle and Emma Moffatt finished 14th respectively on the flat, fast Yokohama circuit that saw American Gwen Jorgensen street the women’s field before the brilliance of Spain’s defending ITU world champion Javier Gomez shone through for his third straight WTS win of the year in a history making, thrilling finish with countryman Mario Mola.
The men’s race saw the Australians fight hard to stay in touch on the bike, only to see the Europeans street the field on the run where the affects of a third straight WTS race started to take its toll.
Royle was always there abouts, with Wollongong Wizards training partner Bailie , who finished 16th never far away, followed by US-based Cameron Good 18th, Ryan Fisher 26th, Declan Wilson 32nd and Dan Wilson a DNF.
Up front saw five big names off the bike – including Gomez, Mola, both Brownlee brothers, Jonathan and Olympic champion Alistair making his comeback and South African Richard Murray who out-ran the British brothers for a brilliant bronze – the first time in the ITU Brownlee history where one of them has not finished ion the podium.
In what was a real helter-skelter affair, in fact one of the most intriguing and exciting men’s races of the season, Royle admitted the way he felt his result was actually “quite pleasing”
“I wasn’t feeling good all day,” said Royle “…so I am actually quite pleased with that 14th.
“To finish inside the top 15 on an off day I think is pretty good for where I’m at….at the moment.
“We tried to stay away on the bike but we got caught mid way through. A few of the guys, once there was a big pack, just tried to hurt each other out of the corners.
“I was just hurting today, it’s been a big month; I’m not the only one…there has been quite a few of us that have done Auckland, Cape Town and now Yokohama.
“To have the first three races and the worst result 14th is quite pleasing.
“We’ve got London to go and I’ll try and finish off with another decent result up there and then go back and train up for the Commonwealth Games.”
It leaves Royle fourth (1517) and Bailie sixth (1173) on the rankings behind Gomez (2400) Jonathan Brownlee (2066) and Mola (1837) with the London WTS sprint race (May 31, June 1) next on the agenda before the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (July 24 and 26).
Moffatt, who will by-pass London for Chicago (June 28/29), hung on bravely for her 14th after working hard in the early stages of the bike to catch the leaders and maintain the pace at the front of the pack after giving away 26 seconds on the swim.
Emma Jackson finished 17th and Charlotte McShane, who also fought hard to come from the second chase pack on the bike, crossed the line 19th in a race that saw Jorgensen again show why she has the legs to win this year’s WTS ahead of Japan’s Ai Ueda and Poland’s Agnieszka Jerzyk.
Moffatt maintains her position in sixth place (1220) behind Jodie Stimpson (2029), Jorgensen (1824), Helen Jenkins (1425), Sarah-Anne Brault (1331) and Anne Haug (1282) with Jackson (994) ninth.
Triathlon Australia’s Performance Director Bernard Savage admitted the Australians were flat after a hectic start to the season, which included Commonwealth Games selection.
“You could see our guys were flat when they started the run in both the women’s and men’s races after solid rides on the bike,” said Savage.
“Those that are racing London have two weeks to consolidate and recover and then the countdown is on for the Commonwealth Games.”