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Tough Triathlon Grand Final for Aussie Elite

31 August 2014

TRIATHLON: The ITU World Triathlon Grand Final was held in Edmonton over the weekend and it was a tough end to the elite season for the Australian athletes. The best place Aussie was xxxx xxxxxx. See full race reports below, starting with the women.

Women's Wrap: Gold Coaster Ashleigh Gentle, who rode and ran almost the entire race by herself after leaving herself in no-man's land, was the best of the three Aussie girls, finishing 18th with London Olympian Emma Jackson, struggling from the outset to finish 27th and last year's Under 23 World Champion Charlotte McShane 38th.

American Gwen Jorgensen, who crashed out of last year's Grand Final in London, again produced an extraordinary 10km run leg to run past 17 competitors after hitting transition in the second bike group.

Kiwis Andrea Hewitt and Nicky Samuels hung on for deserved second and thirds with Jorgensen winning the overall title from fellow countryman Sarah Groff, with Hewitt third.

Gentle was quick to add that today's race was her entry into "non drafting" after missing the first packs on the bike after "getting knocked from pillar to post" in the swim.

But she was philosophical about the future, saying it was the first time in years that she had reached this stage of the year injury free. 

"It was as mentally a tough race as I've ever had, and I have to thank Edmonton for turning on a great race and for the crowd for getting me through - it was a tough day," said Gentle, who will race in the Beijing International before returning home to prepare for the domestic season.

Jackson, who has been battling a head cold since arriving in Edmonton a week ago, admitted she had "the worst swim of her life" after getting her goggles knocked off at the first buoy.

"I think I was almost last out of the water, I felt terrible and really struggled but I knew I just had to keep going," said Jackson, who can still be satisfied to finish seventh overall for the season.

Emma Moffatt, who did not race here because of health issues finished 17th, Gentle 34th, McShane 36th and Gillian Backhouse 49th.

Full Women's Results - http://www.triathlon.org/results/result/2014_itu_world_triathlon_grand_final_edmonton/264460

Final Women's WTS series points - http://www.triathlon.org/rankings/itu_world_triathlon_series/female

The great women's result out of the Grand Final weekend was Gillian Backhouse who won silver in the under-23 event. There were tears of joy for the 22-year-old Brisbane University graduate.  

Backhouse dedicated the medal to her mum and dad and coach Stephen Moss, as she has been largely funded by her parents after she graduated from University with a BSc in Marine Biology and Ecology.

"This is for my mum and dad and coach Steve Moss..I could not have done this without them," said Backhouse, who has had a break through year winning the Chengu World Cup and the World U23 Duathlon Championship and finishing with silver in the Elite.

MEN's WRAP: Meanwhile earlier in the day, Backhouse's fellow squad member Dan Wilson stormed home to finish 13th in the Elite Men's race - the best of the five Australian men in one of the best fields ever assembled.

Wilson, who has a Bachelor of Human Movements and is studying for a Graduate Diploma of Psychology at Queensland University of Technology used all of his experience to hang on in the bike after the field was left in three groups before an Alistair Brownlee dominated breakaway, with much of the field coming together before the run.

The 29-year-old Queenslander produced a powerful final 10km run split of 31.17 - the 10th fastest of the field. It saw him grab 20th place overall on the competitive ITU World Series Ranking as he now sets his sights on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Next home for Australia was Ryan Bailie who was 16th (12th overall for 2014); Cameron Good 21st (33rd overall); Aaron Royle 30th (10th overall) and London Olympian Brendan Sexton on the comeback trail, 41st (29th overall).

The extraordinary Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alistair Brownlee (GBR) won the Grand Final race after he was never headed off the bike.

Spain's emerging star Mario Mola finished second after dueling with the dominant force that is Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez.

But it was Gomez who was again crowned the 2014 World Series Champion for the fourth time from Mola and Jonny Brownlee (GBR) who was fourth in the Grand Final.

Triathlon Australia

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