Emma Jackson has put together one of her strongest performances to date to take her maiden World Triathlon title in Edmonton this morning.
Overcoming several years of injury, Jackson hung tough against an in-form Summer Rappaport (USA) and Australian teammate Ashleigh Gentle through the final stages of the run to claim her first ever WTS gold medal.
Speaking to ITU Media, Jackson said that winning her inaugural title was an emotional experience, coming back from years of injury to claim her first WTS podium finish since 2014.
“I haven’t been on a WTS podium since 2014, so yeah it’s quite emotional now actually winning my first WTS,” Jackson said.
“I’ve known I’ve had some good runs in Montreal and Hamburg, but unfortunately it’s been the chase pack on the bike, so I haven’t really been able to show what I’m capable of.”
In a race that saw the Australian squad dominate from start to finish, Gentle returned to form to join Jackson on the podium with bronze and her first medal finish of the 2019 season. Rising stars Jaz Hedgeland and Kelly-Ann Perkins also secured spots inside the Top 10.
Gentle told ITU Media that her return to the WTS podium was made all the more sweeter sharing it with long-time teammate Jackson.
“It’s been a really tough year for me, probably more so psychologically than physically, but it’s really nice to come here and put that result together,” Gentle said.
“For me personally though, I know I’ve still got some improvement to come and yet to put together a full complete race but I am over the moon with the podium today.”
After a fast, flat swim that saw Gentle, Jackson, Hedgeland and Perkins spread across the field, the Australians worked hard on the bike to reel back an early breakaway from Rappaport (USA), Sophie Coldwell (GBR) and Taylor Spivey (USA). Holding strong through the remainder of the bike leg, the four Australians assertively placed themselves inside the top 12 heading out of T2.
Gentle, Rappaport, Jackson and Claire Michel (BEL) stamped their intentions for the title off the bike, breaking away from the main lead group mid-way through the run to effectively force a sprint finish.
Holding steady, Jackson responded to every one of Rappaport’s attacks off the front, before making her move with several hundred metres to go and sprinting across the line for gold.
Hedgeland continued her upwards trajectory, taking home 7th for her second Top 10 WTS finish this season. Perkins backed up her Tiszaujvaros World Cup bronze with an impressive 10th. Charlotte McShane took home 33rd after a tough bike leg.
Matt Hauser put together a solid performance in the swim and on the bike to finish in 11th.
Coming out of the swim in fourth, Hauser formed a breakaway on the bike with Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), Marten Van Riel (BEL), Ben Kanute (USA) and Vincent Luis (FRA) to maintain position and head onto the run strong.
Giving himself every chance to get on the podium, Hauser fought hard right to the finish line. However a formidable Mario Mola (ESP) and an impressive Hayden Wilde (NZL) proved far too strong for the Queenslander, with Hauser finishing in 11th.
Aaron Royle, Brandon Copeland and Ryan Bailie finished in 24th, 26th and 32nd, respectively. Jake Birtwhistle withdrew on the fourth lap of the bike.
Mario Mola (ESP) put together the performance of the race, coming from 10th place off the bike to chase down the leaders and finish just five seconds behind eventual winner, Brownlee.
The Australian squad will now turn their preparations towards tomorrow’s Mixed Team Relay, with the Australian team to be announced prior to racing.
World Triathlon Edmonton
1st Emma Jackson
3rd Ashleigh Gentle
7th Jaz Hedgeland
10th Kelly-Ann Perkins
33rd Charlotte McShane
11th Matt Hauser
24th Aaron Royle
26th Brandon Copeland
32nd Ryan Bailie
DNF Jake Birtwhistle
Photo Credit: Wagner Araujo | ITU Media