NSW trio Jake Birtwhistle, Natalie Van Coevorden and Charlotte McShane have claimed podium positions for the second consecutive week in a major Australian triathlon, this time at the coveted Noosa Triathlon.
In the women’s race, the podium was a carbon copy of the Nepean race as Rio Olympian Ash Gentle won her fourth and third straight Noosa Triathlon title, ahead of NSW’s Van Coevorden and McShane.
Gentle now joins Australian triathlon royalty Emma Frodeno as the only Australian to claim four Noosa titles.
"It’s great, I have said a couple of times I am so privileged to have my name next to hers, she’s achieved so much more than me as an Olympic Gold Medallist and world champion multiple times.
She has set the bar so high in Australia for so long now; it’s motivating for us now to keep working and chasing her achievements," Gentle says.
Just like 2015 the women’s race was led out by the Gold Coast’s Daniella De Francesco, with Van Coevorden clipping at her heels, the pair holding a 90 second lead at the end of the 1500m swim.
After the 1500m swim the pair had a lead of over 1:30 on Gentle, after the bike the gap to De Francesco was 46 seconds, with Van Coevorden a further 20 seconds up the road.
Gentle quickly closed the gap to De Francesco and had Van Coevorden in her sights. Van Coevorden was chasing redemption after taking a wrong turn in 2015’s race, cutting the bike course by 13km leading to her disqualification.
Unfortunately, by the 5km mark of the run Gentle had claimed the lead and was on the way to securing her fourth Noosa title.
Despite seeing Gentle run away with the win, Van Coevorden’s said a second place result helped to redeem her disastrous 2015 race.
“I wanted to be remembered as someone other than the girl who went the wrong way,” Van Coevorden told Triathlon Australia.
Meanwhile in the men’s race, last week Birtwhistle had a barnstorming victory at the Nepean Triathlon in NSW, he went from the hunted to the hunter as he chased down a one-and-a-half-minute deficit at the end of the bike leg to finish in second, just 17 seconds adrift of winner Dan Wilson from Brisbane.
Wilson, along with long course specialist Josh Amberger, the partner of Gentle, turned a one-minute lead out of the water into a 1:30 lead over pre-race favourites Birtwhistle and Ryan Fisher at the end of the bike leg.
"I knew if I could get a lead of over a minute off the bike on Jake and Ryan that I’d be in with a shot," Wilson says.
His words proved prophetic as he ran strongly over the final 10km to hold on for a 17-second win. Birtwhistle held on for second with Fisher in third.
1. Dan Wilson 1:49.41
2. Jacob Birtwhistle 1:49.58
3. Ryan Fisher 1:51.03
1. Ashleigh Gentle 2:02.26
2. Natalie Van Coevorden 2:03.30
3. Charlotte McShane 2:05.03