Wollongong triathlete Aaron Royle continued his rapid rise to the top of the sport with victory in the Noosa Triathlon yesterday.
Royle (1:46:12) and fellow 23-year-old Ryan Bailie finished first and third, separated by 28-year-old Dan Wilson.
Royle made the decisive move in the run leg, breaking away from a seven-strong lead group to win by 41 seconds.
'‘It takes a special athlete to win,’’ said Royle after claiming his first major senior victory.
‘‘I’m not going to say it’s easy to come second, but it’s a hell of a lot harder to come first."At the moment I've got that winning attitude and the belief.''
English brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee shape as the red-hot gold-medal favourites in Glasgow, but the fast-improving Royle is also eyeing a top-three finish.
‘‘It’s a big couple of years coming up,’’ said the New South Welshman.‘‘I’d love to podium in Glasgow.I have the belief now that I’m good enough to be there.
‘‘Most people who win here in Noosa go on to achieve good things in the future.
‘‘Hopefully this is just the start.’’
Queenslander Emma Moffatt took out the women's event, a reward for her decision earlier this year to make the Noosa Triathlon a priority in 2013.
She beat training partner and close friend Ashleigh Gentle to the line.
The event had a distinct Commonwealth Games flavour with both winners - Moffatt and under-23 world champion Aaron Royle - the only two Australians currently guaranteed spots on the national squad next year in Glasgow.
The women's race got off to a dramatic start yesterday when a sea snake reared its head out of the water in the Noosa River just as the competitors were about to dive in for the swim leg.
"I'm scared of all things like that so it felt really close," Moffatt said.
"I don't think I was really in danger but it definitely got the heart rate up."
Moffatt was in second position behind swim expert Maddison Allen after the opening leg and had claimed a narrow lead over Gentle going into the concluding 10km run. She was able to extend that advantage and win the Olympic distance event in one hour 58 minutes and 41 seconds ahead of last year's Noosa winner Gentle (1:59:02) and two-time half-ironman world champ Mel Hauschildt (2:01:42).
Moffatt, 29, has contested the last two Olympics - finishing third behind countrywoman and gold medallist Emma Snowsill in Beijing in 2008 - but next year's Glasgow campaign could well be her shot at Commonwealth glory.
She intends to make the most of it and can now tailor her 2014 program around peaking for Glasgow, while the likes of Gentle and Emma Jackson - who was fourth yesterday - chase the two remaining women's vacancies.