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 > Home Page > About > Latest News > Jake’s surprise silver lining to dramatic Hamburg finish

Jake’s surprise silver lining to dramatic Hamburg finish


Jake’s surprise silver lining to dramatic Hamburg finish

Australia’s Jake Birtwhistle has produced his best ever World Triathlon Series result, winning silver in dramatic circumstances in Hamburg earlier today.

The 21-year-old Tasmanian produced the race of his life followed by an emotionally charged finale that saw him go from a near certain bronze medal to fourth and eventually to silver.

Birtwhistle surged into third on the finish line, with the first two places seemingly settled by Spain’s WTS Series leader Mario Mola and an angry South African Richard Murray who had served a 10 second penalty for placing his wetsuit in the wrong gear box.

jake Birtwhistle 1 

Photo: Delly Carr

So sure was Birtwhistle that he had secured the bronze, last year’s ITU Under 23 world champion produced a little fist pump as he crossed the line.

At the same time Spain’s Fernando Alarza flashed home on his outside and the electronic scoreboard was quick to lodge Alarza as third before a judges photo finish then confirmed Birtwhistle officially third.

But the podium was far from settled with a ropeable Murray, who stopped to serve the penalty before the finish shoot, remonstrating with the ITU technical official, shouting "What for? What for?" 

He then resumed his raging run to the line, making gestures as he ran to the finish.

Murray was still upset demanding answers from the officials after crossing the line.

ITU officials were quick to act, disqualifying Murray for "unsportsmanlike behaviour" as confusion and the inclement weather rained on Mola's parade.

In the end it was Birtwhistle who was awarded his best ever podium finish - the silver - Australia's best male performance in a WTS race since Brad Kahlefeldt won Hamburg in 2011 with Alarza third.

“I thought I did (cross over before Alarza), that is why I did a bit of a first pump at the finish line, but it didn’t take long for me to start second guessing myself,” said Birtwhistle who put his hand over the mouth in an “oh no…what just happened” moment.

“But I guess I was just at the line beforehand. I am really happy with the race today, I planned to come here and have a great race and I was not going to accept anything else. 

“So I am happy to even just make it onto the podium it’s a pretty good achievement for me.”

Murray’s outing also saw Australia’s Rio bound Olympians Ryan Bailie elevated to 5th and Aaron Royle to 11th – both showing encouraging signs in the run up to the Olympics.

Commonwealth Games representative Dan Wilson, in his second race back from injury was 43rd with Australia's third Rio Olympian Ryan Fisher, a gutsy 56th after crashing on the bike.

Fisher, with anxious coach Shaun Stephens and Triathlon Australia's National Performance Director Bernard Savage, looking on, made a bold move to break away mid-way through the 20km course before going down.

Savage later confirmed that Fisher had escaped unscathed apart from "some bark off" but luckily there are no concerns for his Rio preparations.

There was a strong green and gold presence during the race with Royle and Bailie well in the running from the outset and Birtwhistle producing a much improved swim to put him in the hunt while Fisher was always well up.

It didn’t take long for the Australian foursome to cement their spots towards the front of the peloton before the black helmet of Fisher was seen to emerge from the pack and the gloom of a rainy Hamburg afternoon.

But with the rain came the tricky, slippery conditions, with Fisher coming off and a crash further back in the field also causing havoc.

With the 20km bike section of the cobble-stoned course complete it was onto the helter-skelter of the five-kilometre run.

Series leader Mola and training partner Murray were quick to make their move with Bailie and Royle, who dropped off with Birtwhistle taking over.

The brilliant boy from Launceston, who has been very much on the move this year, hung tough with a group of four.

And when the time came it was the outstanding running ability and finish kick of Birtwhistle that saw him break clear.

Birtwhistle’s silver lifts him to fifth on the WTS World  Rankings, with Bailie sixth.

Meanwhile in the women’s race there were encouraging signs from London Olympian Emma Jackson who ran herself into her best performance of the season – with a hard fought 10th from the ever-present Charlotte McShane 15th, Gillian Backhouse 37th and Natalie Van Coevorden 46th.


Jackson and McShane ran through from the chase pack after a breakaway of seven riders, including eventual top two Katie Zaferes (USA) and Rachel Klamer (NED).

The Aussie pair has been rewarded by the Australian selectors with places alongside Birtwhistle and Bailie for tonight’s 2016 Mixed Teams Relay World Championship.

McShane is enjoying her best season on the WTS circuit and is sitting in eighth place on the overall series rankings.

Savage said he was encouraged by the performances of his athletes, particularly Birtwhistle and his Olympians and Bailie, Royle and Fisher.

“It was a great result for Jake, who has settled straight back into training, with his sights set on the WTS Series and the World Championship in Cozumel.

“A podium finish is a great reward for him with the other boys obviously focused on Rio after coming off a hard three-week training block.

“And I must admit we were quite relieved to see Ryan Fisher had come through his fall without any serious injuries.

“He will be fine for Rio….”

2016 WTS Hamburg Results

 

Elite Men

1.

Mario Mola

ESP

00:52:19

2.

Jacob Birtwhistle

AUS

00:52:36

3.

Fernando Alarza

ESP

00:52:36

4.

Joao Pereira

POR

00:52:42

5.

Ryan Bailie

AUS

00:52:45

6.

Marten Van Riel

BEL

00:52:48

7.

Tyler Mislawchuk

CAN

00:52:51

8.

Andreas Schilling

DEN

00:52:57

9.

Rostislav Pevtsov

AZE

00:52:58

10.

Jonathan Zipf

GER

00:52:59

View Full Results >>

Rankings Men

1.

Mario Mola

ESP

3833

2.

Fernando Alarza

ESP

3443

3.

Jonathan Brownlee

GBR

2905

4.

Pierre Le Corre

FRA

2354

5.

Jacob Birtwhistle

AUS

2165

6.

Ryan Bailie

AUS

2079

7.

Henri Schoeman

RSA

1960

8.

Tyler Mislawchuk

CAN

1952

9.

Crisanto Grajales

MEX

1888

10.

Adam Bowden

GBR

1852

View Full Rankings >>

Elite Women

1.

Katie Zaferes

USA

00:57:03

2.

Rachel Klamer

NED

00:57:14

3.

Gwen Jorgensen

USA

00:57:29

4.

Jodie Stimpson

GBR

00:57:52

5.

Anastasia Abrosimova

RUS

00:57:58

6.

Barbara Riveros

CHI

00:58:01

7.

Ai Ueda

JPN

00:58:02

8.

Mari Rabie

RSA

00:58:03

9.

Laura Lindemann

GER

00:58:06

10.

Emma Jackson

AUS

00:58:07

View Full Results >>

Rankings Women

1.

Flora Duffy

BER

3491

2.

Jodie Stimpson

GBR

3146

3.

Gwen Jorgensen

USA

3025

4.

Ai Ueda

JPN

2736

5.

Andrea Hewitt

NZL

2599

6.

Helen Jenkins

GBR

2459

7.

Katie Zaferes

USA

2280

8.

Charlotte McShane

AUS

2067

9.

Rachel Klamer

NED

1982

10.

Vicky Holland

GBR

1859