Tasmanian triathlon star Jake Birtwhistle has broken through to secure his first World Triathlon Series (WTS) title in Leeds overnight in thrilling fashion against arguably the strongest field ever assembled.
Speaking to ITU Media, Birtwhistle said that it was really pleasing to give a performance he could be proud of and showcase his skills on the world stage.
“It’s been a long time coming, going after that top step of the podium,” Birtwhistle, 24, said.
“This was kind of dubbed as the strongest ITU field assembled maybe ever, and to come out and get the win is pretty special.”
“There’s a big 18-months coming up obviously, and this is a real big confidence booster for me.”
In a nailbiting finish through the streets of Leeds, Birtwhistle ran down 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Henri Schoeman, to make his break in the final lap of the run. Despite a strong chase from eventual runner-up Matthew McElroy (USA) and 3rd placed Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) over the last two kilometres, Birtwhistle’s break proved too much to close, leaving the Tasmanian to sprint home and secure that elusive WTS title.
Earlier in the race, Birtwhistle produced one of his strongest swims to date to see him take to the bike course in the lead pack alongside Britain’s Brownlee brothers, as well as Russell White (IRL) and Dorian Coninx (FRA).
Fending off multiple attacks off the front of the lead pack, Birtwhistle managed to stay in the mix to head out onto the run inside the top eight, setting himself up to stake his claim at the title.
This article originally appeared at: https://www.themercury.com.au/news/jake-birtwhistle-breaks-through-to-leave-worlds-best-in-his-wake/news-story/485237f64b10ad3272c7e320a9b473f5