Ashleigh Gentle collected another title on home soil as she dominated the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup in Mooloolaba in Queensland, before the men’s elite race was won by favourite Tyler Mislawchuk of Canada.
The 28-year-old Australian, born just a few miles down the Sunshine Beach coast in Brisbane, received huge local support as she added another gold to those she won on the Gold Coast last year, when she was in the home team that won the Commonwealth Games team title, and then won last September’s ITU Grand Final.
Gentle, seeded first, finished in 58min 15sec, with Renee Tomlin of the United States six seconds behind her and Italy’s Angelica Olmo 10 seconds back.
Mislawchuk won his first ITU World Cup title in 52:14, with home triathlete Brandon Copeland five seconds back and Germany’s Valentin Wernz eight seconds.
Mooloolaba Main Beach has become the regular venue for the second ITU World Cup of the season, and today - a week after the series opener in Abu Dhabi - the sprint distance course comprised a 750 metres ocean swim, a 20 kilometres bike ride and a five kilometres hilly run.
A field of 47 women started in hot and humid conditions, and Australia’s defending champion, Emma Jeffcoat - who comes from a surf background - led the way into the first race transition.
Jeffcoat, Australian team-mates Kelly-Ann Perkins and Natalie Van Coeverden and Tamara Gorman of the US established a 21-seconds lead on the ride.
But Gentle led a chasing group back into contact by the second lap, and the race was effectively decided by the concluding run.
Van Coervorden took the early lead, but Gentle soon passed her and was never headed again.
"It was really tough," Gentle said.
"I knew it was going to be a big ask to back up after Abu Dhabi last weekend.
"I am really happy and a little bit surprised to be honest..
"Racing at home here in Queensland was really special to me today and I am really grateful for the support I get from my fellow Queenslanders so I really wanted to come back and race on home soil.
"Seeing some familiar faces here in Queensland today reminded me of why I started triathlon."
A field of 67 men got underway in cooling conditions following the women’s race, and Mislawchuk produced a slick first transition to lead onto the bike course.
The leading group of around 30 took turns at the front on a tightly winding course skirting the ocean, and Eli Hemmings of the US fell out of contention on the iconic Mooloolaba roundabout.
New Zealand’s Sam Ward, Mislawchuk and Australian Olympian Ryan Bailie were first onto the run course and the Canadian athlete soon established an unassailable lead before the eventual silver and bronze medallists made their decisive moves at the bell.
"First World Cup win, I am over the moon," said Mislawchuk.
"Australia is my second home, I’ve got a lot of friends out so it’s awesome to be able to do it in front of them."