Four days after celebrating her 35th birthday, Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand ran away from the field to finish in 58:03 with a 4 seconds margin of victory on Ashleigh Gentle of Australia and 9 seconds on 3rd place Jure Ide of Japan at the sprint distance WTS Gold Coast.
The win comes 5 weeks after Hewitt’s 1-second victory over Jodie Stimpson at WTS Abu Dhabi and gives the New Zealander a solid lead in the 2017 World Triathlon Series points chase.
While her first victory of the year came from an epic sprint to the finish over Jodie Stimpson at Abu Dhabi, in this race she won by outrunning her competition out of the gate and gradually pulling away.
“I knew my running was good and that is why I went out at that pace, but you never know how the race is going to go and today I just ran a 5k at my pace and it was good enough to be out in front,” Hewitt told ITU Media. “So I am really happy.”
With her second place finish, Ashleigh Gentle secured her country’s first slot at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Yeah it feels really good,” Gentle told ITU Media. "A huge goal of mine moving on from Rio was to one day show up to a one-day race where you have to perform and I did that today so I am really happy. It’s a sprint race, it is so fast from the get-go and it is something I have not had much confidence in before so I am really happy that I was just able to take what the swim was, get on the bike and work hard. And once it came down to the run, I wanted to go out hard and see if I can hold on.”
After a tightly packed swim and a 29-woman lead pack on the 20km bike leg, Hewitt led Vendula Frintova of the Czech Republic, Charlotte McShane of Australia, and Gillian Backhouse of Australia out of T2. Within a few hundred meters, Hewitt carved out a 25-meter lead over swiftly surging Japanese competitors Ai Ueda and Jure Ide, with Ashleigh Gentle of Australia and Katie Zaferes of the U.S. moving up to 4th and 5th places.
By the end of the first 2.5km run lap, Hewitt stretched her lead to 7 seconds over Gentle, who dueled with Juri Ide for 2nd place. Sixteen seconds back of the leader, Zaferes, Kristen Kasper and Renee Tomlin of the U.S., plus Charlotte of Australia were fighting for 4th place, one second ahead of Ueda and Jodie Stimpson of Great Britain.
After 3.7km, Hewitt held an 11 seconds lead on Gentle and Ide, with Kasper, Tomlin, McShane, Ueda and Zaferes fighting for 4th place at 26 seconds arrears, and Stimpson next at 33 seconds down.
After a tied for race-best 16:37 5k run split, Hewitt crossed the line in 58:03 with a 4 seconds lead on Gentle, who ran an equally swift 16:37 5k.
WTS Gold Coast
Gold Coast, Australia
April 8, 2017
S 750m / B 20k / R 5k
1. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 58:03
2. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 58:07
3. Jure Ide (JPN) 58:12
4. Katie Zaferes (USA) 58:20
5. Renee Tomlin (USA) 58:21
6. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 58:22
7. Kirsten Kasper (USA) 58:24
8. Ai Ueda (JPN) 58:31
9. Gillian Sanders (RSA) 58:37
10. Vendula Frintova (CZE) 58:38
12. Summer Cook (USA) 58:40
13. Taylor Spivey (USA) 58:41
16. Jodie Stimpson (GBR 58:46
34. Sarah True (USA) 1:02:57