Luke Willian makes Paris intentions clear with World Triathlon Cup Wollongong win

20 Apr 2024

Photo Credit: Chris Huang

Australia’s Luke Willian has made his Olympics intentions clear with a dominating display at the World Triathlon Cup Wollongong on Saturday.

The 28-year old crossed the line 24 seconds ahead of his nearest rival, Jamie Riddle (RSA) with Diego Moya (CHI) in third.

In the run, he extended his lead over the field with every lap after he emerged from the final transition and bike phase in fifth place.

The textbook performance is part of Willian’s plan to secure a place on Australia’s Olympic Team bound for Paris.

“After missing out in 2021, that’s been the goal of the last three years,” Willian said.

“To get back and try and put myself in contention for that spot and today doing it on home soil puts me in good stead,” he said.

The win signifies a return to form for Willian who last won a World Triathlon Cup five years’ ago in New Plymouth. The Brisbane based athlete credited the Aussie crowd for lifting him when it mattered.

“The crowd was amazing, it was a huge crowd. The weather’s not the best today but everyone came out and cheered. I couldn’t hear my footsteps at some stages because the crowd was so loud, I had no idea where anyone else is. It wasn’t until I could do the u-turn that I really had a good idea,” he said.

Ellie Hoitink was the best of the Aussies in the women’s race, finishing seventh.

The 23-year-old emerged as a front runner during the bike leg and was one of seven athletes in the lead pack out of the transition into the run.

Hoitink stayed in touch with the leaders until the final moments of the race in which a sprint finish resulted in Sweden’s Tilda Mansson taking home the gold medal. Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto (COL) was second followed by Ainsley Thorpe (NZL) who was third.   

As a Canberra local, Hoitink is used to racing in the rain and wind, and she admitted the conditions played to her favour.

“The race was excellent. The conditions were very tough. It was an incredibly hilly bike course and really the side wind was crazy,” Hoitink said.   

“I took a lot of confidence out of last week, so I just wanted to have my best World Cup result yet, which that was, so it’s very exciting.

“I had such an incredible support network out there, I had my parents, my sister I had everyone shouting for me, I could hear my name the whole way around. It was incredible to have World Cup racing return to Australia,” she said.

Just a week earlier, Hoitink made took the Oceania Championships title in Taupo. With two strong international performances under her belt in as many weeks, Hoitink now believes Paris is possible.

“Given the last two races, it’s definitely something I’m going to start chasing. It’s something that’s within my grasp,” she said.  

The 2024 World Triathlon Cup Wollongong is supported proudly by the NSW Government through Destination NSW in collaboration with Wollongong City Council in a landmark three-year partnership that will bring World Triathlon racing to Wollongong from 2024 to 2026. 

To view full World Triathlon Cup Wollongong results, click here.



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