Australian Triathlon Championships
ATKINSON AND SHARP CLAIM THE 2008 AUSTRALIAN TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS
Queenslanders, Courtney Atkinson and Alee Sharp have been crowned the 2008 Australian Triathlon Champions, after securing their wins in searing conditions on Perth’s waterfront today.
Author:: Anna Wallin
Source:: Triathlon Australia
Atkinson took out his third Australian title in a time of 1:48:20, with Alee Sharp crossing the line in 2:03:07.
Coming in second place in the men’s elite was David Dellow of the Sunshine Coast, with three-times World Champion, Peter Robertson, third across the line. Robertson, who has been off the circuit, after being struck down with an E-coli bacteria in June last year, thrilled spectators with his recovery and podium position in his first Olympic distance race in over six months.
Tough conditions saw the elite competitors lining up in scorching temperatures that peaked at 35 degrees, which created extremely tough conditions for the entire field as they came out of the swim and hit the bike leg.
In the mens racing, Atkinson, Clayton Fettell of NSW and David Dellow of the Sunshine Coast demonstrated their strength from the start of the race, with the three competitors staying close to each across both the swim and the bike leg.
Robertson remained with the second pack, which emerged from the water just over one minute behind the lead pack in to the cycle leg.
The three lead competitors held the gap across the bike and into the run, with Robertson entering the transition still trailing by over one minute as the pack headed into the final ten kilometre run leg.
Robertson, determined to secure a podium in his first major race of the season, calmly ran the ten-kilometre course closing the gap little by little, to finally over take Clayton Fettell to secure his third placing.
However, the day belonged to Atkinson who referred to the conditions as testing especially for his first hit out of the season.
“It was the heat on the road, especially on the run leg that put us to the test, it was really tough out there,” said Atkinson
“It definitely wasn’t the easiest triathlon I could have picked to test my training skills. However I have come out of the race feeling really good, definitely hot, but very happy with my performance today.
“From here I will continue with my training program and head to Hobart in a fortnight’s time for the National Sprint Championships.”
It was a day of upsets at the Australian Championships for the women with international competitors, Carolyn Murray of Canada and Lisa Norden of Sweden crossing the line ahead of Sharp, winning first and second in the City of Perth Triathlon, however with international licenses they are not permitted to win the national title.
2007 Australian Champion Erin Densham was also struck down with stomach cramps only two kilometres into the ten kilometre run, which resulted in Densham having to draw back and relinquish her 2007 crown. Densham crossed the line in fourth.
Alee Sharp, who originally made her name in surf lifesaving, proved to be a strong performer and was first out of the water, just three seconds ahead of Erin Densham and maintained her position with Densham across the bike leg. International contenders Norden and Murray were left behind to pursue that Aussies across the bike leg, where they only managed to catch the Australian girls well into the bike.
All four females entered the final transition and sprinted out onto the run leg together. However it appeared that it would be the heat that proved to be the decider for the winners, forcing Densham to slowly drop off, enabling Sharp to move ahead and finally take out the Australian Championships.
“I can’t believe the conditions out there today,” said Sharp.
“I just keep reminding myself that we were all suffering and I had to keep moving forward.
“Both Murray and Norden were incredible performers across the run and I feel for Erin, cramping can strike anyone down; no one is immune to it.
“This is my first Australian title, I can’t believe it, and I am thrilled. The racing here today with the tough conditions was fantastic,” said Sharp.
The “battle of the sexes” race format saw the elite women start out 13 minutes ahead of their male competitors, only to have them catch up in the early stages of the run leg. Carolyn Murray of Canada and Lisa Norden of Sweden crossed the finish line ahead of Atkinson shortly before Atkinson who crossed the line third.
City of Perth Triathlon incorporating the 2008 Australian Triathlon Championships
Results - Men
1. Courtney Atkinson (QLD) 01:48:20
2. David Dellow (QLD) 01:51:36
3. Peter Robertson (WA) 01:53:11
4. Clayton Fettell (NSW) 01:53:57
5. David Matthews (NSW) 01:54:37
6. Adam Fitzackerley (QLD) 01:55:26
Results - Women
1. Carolyn Murray (CAN) 02:01:32
2. Lisa Norden (SWE) 02:01:49
3. Alee Sharp (QLD) 02:03:07 (2008 Australian Triathlon Champion)
4. Erin Densham (VIC) 02:04:06
5. Sarah Crowley (SA) 02:09:02
6. Bridgette Burns (VIC) DNF
For full results please click this link:bluechip.racetectiming.com/default.aspx