Geelong proves fruitful for Quirk
Victorian Bryce Quirk took out his home state race today to win his first national
title, victorious in the Australian Triathlon Championships in Geelong this
afternoon over fellow Melbourne born man, Peter Robertson.
After a shocker in the swim/bike transition, where Quirk lost his shoe leaving the zone, the 26 year old had to claw himself back into the race during the bike leg. After his fumble in transition, Quirk found himself in the third pack back and had to put in a massive effort in the first two laps of the ride to link onto the huge chase pack.
“I was furious when I dropped my shoes. I put rubber bands on my shoes which prevents that and it still happened. I just had to dig deep and the first two laps on the bike hurt me. When I caught up I wasn’t so sure how I would run after riding so hard,” said Quirk of his race.
“It was even more disappointing when the pack from behind caught us because I thought I could have taken it easy and ridden up with them. But you have to take your chances and I had to race aggressively, which is what I did.”
Quirk went second into the 40km bike leg with the energetic, brisk footed Robertson six seconds in front. Robbo kept him at bay, with Quirk narrowing the gap over the 10km /four lap run. Quirk surged at him three times in the final lap, but Robbo pulled away ? and it wasn’t till the final 800 metres that Quirk won the battle, took the lead and sprinted to the finish line.
“I caught Robbo three times and he ran away from me but I knew that was Robbos game I knew I had to be patient. I knew that when I hit him I had to hit him with everything but I wasn’t ready to hit him when I first caught him. So I had to let him go and have the faith that I was going to run back up to him. After I had rested and he didn’t go straight away, that was when I hit him. I had a couple of goes on the hill on the last lap and he went with me once, I had a quick rest and went again and he didn’t come,” said Quirk of his breakaway.
Quirk finished 17 seconds in front of Robertson, with Wagga’s young star and 2002 junior world champion Brad Kahlefeldt in third after running with Germany ‘s Maik Petzold for much of the race. .
The win secures for Quirk a place in the Australian team for the world championships to be held in Japan in September, with Quirk’s eye firmly fixed on a top five showing at the worlds ? and the first Australian home ? to secure a Commonwealth Games spot.
He has recently got engaged and moved back to his hometown of Melbourne - desperate to race in the Commonwealth Games as the hometown boy.
“My goal for this year was to make Worlds here and that was the race that I targeted and I got it right.
“I have been working with Tony Benson a former Olympic track runner and we have done a lot of work on the tactics of winning races. Learning how to beat people when it is really hurting and it is crunch time,” said Quirk.
“A lot of people didn’t think that I was capable of that, but I always knew I was. I have been the most consistent Australian athlete of the last 12 months. I haven’t done the things that the Thomo’s and Greg Bennett’s have done but I was only Australian on a world cup podium last year. I knew I had the form and I raced well at Hobart so I really targeted this race. I want to go to the Commonwealth Games next year and any good showing in Melbourne or near Melbourne has to hold me in good stead for that spot.”
Peter Robertson was far from disappointed, happy with his first race back for the season.
“Without making excuses I would have to say I am a little under done. Mooloolaba was always my aim but in the last few weeks of training I have really taken off. So I put a bit more of an effort into my taper and tried to come up fresh for this race. I aiming for Mooloolaba and with a race under my belt, I feel like I am in a really good position to have a good crack at Mooloolaba ,” said Robbo.
“I knew I could never really shake Bryce, more than 20-30 metres and when that happens I know I am in a little bit of trouble. But I am hardly disappointed. The first race back is always a good wake up to the system.”
Race favourites, Craig Walton and Simon Thompson both withdrew from the race ? Waldo in the second bike leg weak from his recent bout of glandular fever; and Thommo early in the run with a niggling hamstring ? while Olympic silver mediallist Bevan Docherty finished sixth.
Full race results available on the Triathlon Australia Website.