With Olympic selections looming for the Tokyo Games, Matt Hauser and Ashleigh Gentle proved to be in top form with victories at the classic Mooloolaba Triathlon.
In his fourth major Olympic distance event, up and coming Under 23 phenom Hauser ran away from Aussie veteran stars Jake Birtwhistle and Aaron Royle as well as Brandon Copeland in his second straight Australian title. Hauser ran a men’s-best 30:32 to finish in 1:43:24 with a 13 seconds margin over Brandon Copeland and 26 seconds over third place finisher Birtwhistle and 50 seconds over 4th place Aaron Royle.
Gentle, the defending Mooloolaba Champion, the 2018 WTS Grand Final winner and 2016 Olympian, overcame a 39 seconds deficit after the swim with a women’s second-best 1:02:29 bike leg, then swept to the win with a dominating 34:32 run split. Gentle finished in 1:59:05 with a 1:29 margin over Jaz Hedgeland and 2:45 over 3rd place Barbara Riveros of Chile.
Hauser took a narrow lead out of the water with a 17:45 swim split that gave him a few ticks of the clock over Royle, Copeland and Birtwhistle. Hauser, Royle, Max Stapley and Copeland took an early lead on the bike before they were caught by a massive pack including Birtwhistle, Matt Roberts and Luke Schofield which arrived at T2 in a jam.
Hauser, Birtwhistle, Copeland and Royle formed a lead pack that broke away out of T2, until Hauser found another gear on his way to a race-best 30:32 10k split. On the wings of a second-fastest 30:47 run, Copeland took second, 13 seconds back of Hauser, Birtwhistle filled out the podium with a 30:58 run, 13 seconds arrears of Copeland.
“It came down to the final kilometer on the run and luckily I was able to have the legs to push up over that hill and put in a bit of a surge and the boys couldn’t stick with me,” Hauser told Mooloolaba media. “Today is just another step forward and another stamp on my name to the [Olympic] selectors.”
Jaz Hedgeland, Lotte Wilms and Kelly-Anne Perkins broke away with nearly identical 19:36 swim splits with Gentle, Barbara Riveros and Kira Hedgeland in chase pack 35 seconds behind. Soon a lead pack of six started to work together until arriving simultaneously at T2.
On her way to a dominating 34:32 run split, Gentle ran away to finish in 1:59:05 with a 1:29 margin over Hedgeland and 2:45 over third place finisher Riveros.
“It was a great race and I really enjoyed it,” Gentle told Mooloolaba media. I guess I’m at the very start of my prep for Tokyo, so I’m pretty happy with the race today. Obviously, you learn so much from just racing so I’ll take a lot away from today.”
Mooloolaba Triathlon / Australian Standard Distance Championship
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
March 14, 2021
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Matthew Hauser (AUS) U23 S 17:45 T1 00:52 B 53:31 T2 00:42 R 30:32 TOT 1:43:24
2. Brandon Copeland (AUS) S 17:50 T1 00:51 B 53:24 T2 00:44 R 30:47 TOT 1:43:37
3. Jake Birtwhistle (AUS) S 17:52 T1 00:55 B 53:18 T2 00:44 R 30:58 TOT 1:43:50
4. Aaron Royle (AUS) S 17:48 T1 00:52 B 53:27 T2 00:44 R 31:21 TOT 1:44:14
5. Luke Schofield (AUS) U23 S 18:00 T1 00:5 B 53:16 T2 00:43 R 33:00 TOT 1:45:53
1. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) S 20:15 T1 00:56 B 1:02:29 T2 00:52 R 34:32 TOT 1:59:05
2. Jaz Hedgeland (AUS) S 19:37 T1 1:01 B 1:03:06 T2 00:48 R 36:00 TOT 2:00:34
3. Barbara Riveros (CHL) S 20:17 T1 00:55 B 1:02:28 T2 00:54 R 37:15 TOT 2:01:50
4. Lotte Wilms (AUS) S 19:36 T1 1:01 B 1:03:14 T2 1:01 R 39:18 TOT 2:04:12
5. Kira Hedgeland (AUS) U23 S 20:11 T1 00:58 B 1:02:42 T2 00:51 R 39:45 TOT 2:04:30