Wollongong triathlete Charlotte McShane timed her run to perfection to become Australia’s latest triathlon world champion in London on Thursday.
Scottish-born McShane, who emigrated with her family when she was 15 to live in Bairnsdale in country Victoria, broke away from a group of five others to clinch the gold medal in the Women’s ITU Under 23 World Triathlon Championship.
“I knew I had a good sprint so in the end I just backed myself and I won, I can’t believe it, I’ve never won anything before,” said McShane, one of four Australian training partners in the race.
“I wasn’t prepared to go, I was just waiting for the other girls to make their move and when they did I knew I could pounce and match them.”
McShane hit the final 100 metres and stormed away to beat Canadian pair Ellen Pennock and Amelie Kretz.
Of the three other members of Jamie Turner’s Wollongong Wizards group, Tamsyn Moana-Veale finished eighth, Grace Musgrove 12th and Natalie Van Coevorden 14th.
Earlier, a mud-splattered Jacob Birtwhistle produced a brave performance to get back on his bike for a fast finishing sixth in the Junior Men’s race.
The 18-year-old Launceston schoolboy crashed on the first lap of the 20km bike course and was also hit with a 10-second penalty for not putting his wetsuit in the designated box.
“That didn’t go according to plan, that’s for sure,” said a frustrated and bitterly disappointed Birtwhistle, showing the muddy and bloody wounds from the Hyde Park.
“Whatever could have gone wrong did go wrong.”
European champion Dorian Coninx of France won from Scottish pair Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon.
In the Junior Women’s race West Australian Jaz Hedgeland fell just five seconds short of a podium finish.
She was fourth behind triumphant American Tamara Gorman, Georgia Taylor-Brown of Britain and German Laura Lindeman.
“I set myself the goal of winning the gold medal,” said Hedgeland.
“So I am disappointed to finish fourth but I left nothing out there. I’ll be back next year having another crack.
“I was well up in the swim and worked really hard on the bike but when it came to the run I just had nothing in my legs.”