Australia’s Brendan Sexton turned an unexpected opportunity into the best possible result in Australia on Saturday, when he claimed his first Elite Men’s Oceania Championship in Devonport.
The 26-year-old had to withdraw from the Australian sprint championships in Geelong a fortnight ago after his bike seat worked its way loose, and added Devonport to his 2012 plan to get in one final race before the ITU World Triathlon Series opener in Sydney. But the late schedule addition ended up working perfectly, as Sexton posted the fastest run split of the day, a time of 30 minutes 57 seconds, to take the win.
“I needed to go into the ITU World Cup and the ITU World Championship round in Sydney with a full race under my belt and after what happened in Geelong I added Devonport to my schedule and now I’m glad I did,” said Sexton.
“But there is no doubt my win today was a team effort. The Australians worked well together to ensure that it came down to the run and I was just lucky enough to get across the line ahead of the Kiwis. We knew we had to work to our strengths and that was the last 10km.
“I felt good and it was important to have as much petrol in the tank as I could when I got off the bike and I knew when Courtney (Atkinson) and Kris (Gemmell) took off I had to go with them and after the first lap I felt great and just kept going.”
His win not only played a part in helping Australia take another step towards securing an all-important third spot on the team for London, but also kept his name very much up in lights.
“Sydney is the race,” Sexton said. “That’s where I will have to perform but I guess my performance here today will certainly keep me on the radar.”
A pack of 15 then formed on the bike, including Atkinson, Dodds, Gemmell, Royle, Bevan Docherty, Ryan Bailie and Ryan Fisher, and they hit T2 with about a minute on the next chase pack. While Gemmell and Atkinson led out early, it didn’t take long for Sexton to hit the front and stay there.
Gemmell’s second place also secured him the 2012 New Zealand national championship, while Tony Dodds came in fourth and Atkinson fifth. Chris McCormack put in the eighth fastest run of the day to finish 14th, while Docherty failed to finish.
With files from Triathlon Australia