Silver lining for Gentle and Birtwhistle as McShane seals Commonwealth Games berth

17 July, 2017

After putting in spirited efforts in the swim and bike Australia’s two other competitors Emma Jeffcoat and Natalie Van Coevorden battled on to finish 16th and 22nd respectively.

Rio Olympian Gentle produced the fastest five kilometre run time of the day (16 mins 10 secs) over the sprint distance for another stunning second place finish and will now be joined by training partner McShane on the Australian Commonwealth Games Team after today’s World Triathlon Series round in Hamburg.

Gentle was second to New Zealand’s Andrew Hewitt in the Gold Coast round in April to snatch her automatic Games berth after her second place at the Mooloolaba World Cup and now moves into second on the WTS rankings.

McShane hung on for a brave eighth place finish to fulfill the Triathlon Australia automatic selection nomination with a top 10 finish.

The 26-year-old Scottish-born former under 23-world champion was very much in the hunt for last year’s Olympics and her persistence has been rewarded with her Games debut on the Gold Coast next April.

Gentle, also 26, had already earned her automatic nomination with her second-place finish in the WTS Gold Coast race in April and she backed it up today.

The Gold Coaster outran impressive third time winner on the 2017 circuit, Bermuda’s Commonwealth Games favourite Flora Duffy.

After being “dunked” in the early stages of the 750m swim Gentle rode like a woman possessed over the 20km bike course to put her in a position to pounce on the five-kilometre run to the finish.

Gentle said of her race, “I actually had a good start at the dive in, but to be honest I got squished from either side and got dunked for a little bit, it was quite horrific to be honest.

“So I just got onto my bike and did the best I could. There have been plenty of races where I have been in that situation, but I have been able to salvage a good result so there is no reason you should quit after the swim you still have two legs to go.

“This is triathlon, so I just tried to race as hard as I could and thankfully it paid off and I was able to come away with second.

“I’ve always really wanted to get on the podium at a WTS Hamburg and enjoy the beer shower.”

McShane set up her deserved top 10 finish with what she described as “a really great swim.”

“The swim put me in a good position from the start. My run wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for which was disappointing, but since the Gold Coast WTS in April I’ve been really focussing on this race and securing the second Automatic Nomination for Commonwealth Games – so I’m very happy,” said the girl from Bairnsdale.

“My coach Jamie Turner prepared us for this race really well so it’s nice to be able to put in a good performance and I look forward to training alongside Ashleigh in the lead up to Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year.”

After putting in spirited efforts in the swim and bike Australia’s two other competitors Emma Jeffcoat and Natalie Van Coevorden battled on to finish 16th and 22nd respectively.

And not long after the traditional Hamburg swill soaked the women’s podium, Tasmania’s Jake Birtwhistle was heading towards a familiar frothy path.

The 2015 Under 23 world champion and a youngster who has been tipped as the “boy most likely” produced a stunning kick to snatch back-to-back Hamburg silvers.

The 22-year-old produced a brilliant sprint finish to surge past Spain’s five-time world champion Javier Gomez and New Zealand’s Ryan Sissons in the closing stages to claim his second silver in two years.

Birtwhistle looked like his race was over when he dropped back to sixth after sitting in second place in the early stages of a five kilometre run dominated by eventual winner, world champion Mario Mola of Spain.

But with the finish line in his sights he found another gear and charged past South African Richard Murray, the veteran Gomez before claiming Sissons – who was ecstatic to join the podium out pouring with his first WTS podium finish.

“Since my days as a track and field athlete before I became a triathlete I’ve always had that little something extra at the end,” said Birtwhistle, who had already claimed Australia’s first automatic nomination for next year’s Commonwealth Games with his top 10 finish on the Gold Coast in April.

“I’m rather happy I am able to call on it when I need it.

“I’m pretty happy with the race as a whole, I was comfortably up towards the front out of the water and played my cards right on the run.

“I took some chances but it all ended up in a big bunch. I pushed the pace early in the run but found myself dropping back in the middle stages.

“I was in top gear for as long as I could be over the last kilometre and in doing so closed some pretty significant gaps from sixth to eventually finish second.

“It certainly wasn’t my plan to come from so far back but it’s times like that I’m thankful to know I have that extra gear.”

With a second automatic Games place up for grabs in Hamburg for a top 10 place getter, it was youngster Matthew Hauser who came closest with his 20th place finish after he opened up a big swim lead, followed by Rio Olympian Aaron Royle (25th), Brisbane youngster Luke Willian (30th) and Royle’s Rio team mate Ryan Bailie fading to 42nd after looking to be in the hunt off the bike.

Australia’s final two discretionary places for the Games team will now rest with the Australian selectors.

2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg – Women’s Results

Results: Elite Women
1. Flora Duffy BER 00:59:00
2. Ashleigh Gentle AUS 00:59:31
3. Laura Lindemann GER 00:59:41
4. Katie Zaferes USA 00:59:42
5. Jolanda Annen SUI 00:59:49
6. Andrea Hewitt NZL 00:59:52
7. Renee Tomlin USA 01:00:03
8. Charlotte McShane AUS 01:00:05
9. Kirsten Kasper USA 01:00:05
10. Rachel Klamer NED 01:00:06

Full Results here

2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg – Men’s Results

Results: Elite Men
1. Mario Mola ESP 00:54:08
2. Jacob Birtwhistle AUS 00:54:20
3. Ryan Sissons NZL 00:54:23
4. Vincent Luis FRA 00:54:26
5. Javier Gomez Noya ESP 00:54:28
6. Dorian Coninx FRA 00:54:29
7. Richard Murray RSA 00:54:31
8. Léo Bergere FRA 00:54:36
9. Kristian Blummenfelt NOR 00:54:39
10. Joao Pereira POR 00:54:45

Full results here

Text: Lisa Pringle | Triathlon Australia

Image: Janos Schmidt | ITU Media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Simple Share Buttons

Sign up for the mailing list

Enter your details below to stay up to date with whats going on.