A Gentle push for stardom

Action from the elite women triathlon in Mooloolaba. Ashleigh Gentle. Photo John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Action from the elite women triathlon in Mooloolaba. Ashleigh Gentle. Photo John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

TRIATHLON: Three-time Noosa Triathlon champion Ashleigh Gentle is set to headline an all-star field for the upcoming Noosa Triathlon.

The Sunshine Coast Daily has confirmed the 25-year-old Rio Olympian will attempt to defend her title at the iconic event to be held Sunday, October 30..

But the Gold Coast talent, who is eighth on the ITU points list, should face a stern test from last year's runner-up Charlotte McShane.

The 26-year-old was the best placed Australian in this year's World Triathlon Series (eighth).

Chile's Barbara Riveros, who was fifth at Rio, and New Zealand Olympian Nicky Samuels are also set to compete.

Amid the men's field, Australia's Ryan Bailie and Ryan Fisher are likely to lace-up, after competing at the Games this year.

Bailie was 10th in Rio, seventh on the ITU points list and eighth on the world series.

Young compatriot and world number 13 Jacob Birtwhistle is set to challenge them over the 1.5km swim, 40km ride, 10km run while Dan Wilson is also set to compete.

Race director Rebecca Van Pooss believes it will be a hotly-contested race.

"It's exciting...we have the highest prizemoney for standard distance triathlons in Australia so the elites definitely come out for it,” she said.

"It's the end of the European season so they're hading back to Australia and the Aussies love to race at Noosa to finish off their year.”

More elite athletes are likely to nominate for the race in coming weeks but Van Pooss was particularly pleased to see Gentle put her hand up.

"We're really happy she's racing,” she said.

"For a short period of time we though she might racing somewhere else but she's confirmed she will be in Noosa and she's pretty excited to be going for three in a row.”

Gentle has won in 2012, 2014 and 2015 and another win would see her close in on Emma Snowsill's mark of five wins in the women's event and join the Noosa resident as the only women to have won the race three times in a row.

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