World podium was 'special' for Royle

TRIATHLON

Wollongong's reputation as a powerful international triathlon training base was further enhanced following outstanding world-series performances by Aaron Royle and Ryan Bailie.

With his Commonwealth Games place already locked in, Royle surged to third in the ITU event on a tough Auckland course, ahead of Bailie, who finished fifth, on Sunday.

Royle declared the race the perfect platform for a tilt at gold in Glasgow later this year.

"To win my under-23 worlds here was a pretty special day and to get my first [world series] podium here as well makes it pretty special," Royle said.

"To be honest I felt pretty ordinary on the bike, I had been training pretty well but to get out there today I was feeling pretty ordinary.

"I guess I thought it wasn't going to be my day but when I got on to the run and found my running legs and saw that the podium was definitely there to take, I dug deep in the last kilometre to hold on.

"My training partner Ryan Bailie surged with about one kilometre to go and I got on to him and [fourth-placed Queenslander] Dan Wilson got on to the back of me.

"The work that we are doing is paying off.

"Ryan and I have both been improving over the years and hopefully we can keep going and continue to take the Aussie boys in an upward direction."

Bailie, who came from Western Australia to join the Wollongong Wizards team, was delighted with his fifth placing.

"I had a couple of top-10 finishes last season so I'm very happy with the place," Bailie said.

"I just ran out of legs in the end to get on the podium.

"I had a decent swim to set the race up nicely and in the end I left it all out there.

"That was all I had, I focused on my own race, I tried to block out the fact that I was running with Aaron and Dan.

"I was racing ultimately for the podium. I wasn't really worrying about what they were doing. I was just worrying about my own race."

It was the first time Australia had three of the top five in a world series race, which delighted Triathlon Australia's high performance program manager Bernard Savage.

"It was certainly a breakthrough day for our men and very pleasing indeed for the three boys and their coaches Jamie Turner [Royle and Bailie] and Steve Moss [Wilson]," Savage said.

"It shows that all the work that has been done with those boys is starting to pay off and I'm confident it will have a positive effect on our other boys as well, showing them what they can achieve.

"They still have a long way to go, but it is a very positive start to the season."

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