Olympian and Wollongong Wizards training squad member Ashleigh Gentle produced “without doubt the best performance of my career” after returning home to the Gold Coast to win the world series grand final on Saturday.
Gentle emerged from the swim leg just 27 seconds off the leaders and well within striking distance considering her powerful cycle and running abilities.
It all came down to a sprint finish, with Gentle powering away from Brit Vicky Holland, who celebrated claiming the overall world title crown by finishing second.
Holland had been in a match race with American Katie Zaferes for the series crown, but Gentle was determined to shine on grand final day, even casting aside a painful foot problem to win.
“It is without doubt the best performance of my career and I still can’t believe I actually outsprinted Vicky Holland, it is something I will remember for a long time,” Gentle said.
“I tried to be really aggressive and really smart – knowing Katie and Vicky were duking out for a world title.
“I had never really had to prove myself in a sprint finish before so it was actually the best sprint of my racing career.
“And while I did suffer a painful blister which left my foot bloodied, it actually distracted me from the pain in the rest of my body and something you can overcome with a potential grand final victory.”
Also part of the Wizards squad under Wollongong-based coach Jamie Turner, Natalie Van Coevorden and Charlotte McShane finished 17th and 19th respectively.