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20-year-old Gentle scores a major breakthrough while veteran Docherty wins again in Edmonton.
Reigning Junior World Champion Ashleigh Gentle of Australia stepped up to the elite ranks in a big way on Sunday, snatching victory at the Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup. In the men’s race, Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty of New Zealand picked up where he left off in 2007, nabbing gold yet again in Canada.
“It started off pretty rough in the swim but had to work pretty hard in the bike. It is quite a tough course actually,” said Gentle. “I knew hopefully if I was in striking range off the bike I could really just nail the run and hopefully get past a few girls and not look back.”
A dreary and grey day welcomed the 49 elite women as they ran into Hawrelak Park lake for a 2-lap wetsuit swim. Brazil’s Pamela Nascimento Oliveira led the women out of the water with at least ten seconds on the rest of the field. But out onto the 40km bike course, a lead pack of more than a dozen women formed. Among them were Helle Frederiksen, Hollie Avil, Abbie Thorrington and Flora Duffy.
In pursuit was the chase group of approximately 15 women which included Gentle, Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Kelly Whitley and Japanese veteran Kiyomi Niwata. The chase pack wasn’t digging into the lead throughout the tough 40km bike course until the last of the six laps when they cut the lead to less than 30 seconds.
Once the women hit the 10km run course, it didn’t take long for speedster Gentle to surge to the lead. Despite coming out of the second transition half a minute behind, the Aussie youngster was already in front midway through the first lap. It was clear no one would keep pace with Gentle and the race was on for second and third.
For the men, Docherty topped the podium alongside Aurelien Lescure of France, who scored his first World Cup medal, and American Hunter Kemper who has been making resurgent strides this year on the circuit, taking bronze.
After a tightly-bunched swim and bike, Kemper was the first off the bike and onto the 10km run course. Soon, Docherty and Lescure separated themselves from the field and jockeyed for top position throughout most of the run. Jones, Kemper and Whitfield stayed close through the late stages as they entered the final stretch with Docherty surging for the win steps before the finish line.
Read more: International Triathlon Union