Gentle confident for Gold Coast triathlon

Murray Wenzel
Ashleigh Gentle is confident she can finish an up-and-down season with victory at home

Triathlete Ashleigh Gentle has left her comfort zone to find peak form, confident her best racing is still to come after a rollercoaster season.

Illness and a nasty crash have left the Queenslander ninth and no chance of repeating her overall silver on last year's World Triathlon Series tour.

But Gentle has still managed a fourth and second in races this year to underline her class and give her hope of a winning finish to the season at home on Saturday.

It will mark her first racing return to the Southport circuit that brought frustration and jubilation earlier this year - where she won gold in the Commonwealth Games teams event but could do no better than fifth in the individual race.

"I felt like I should've been closer and my run really let me down, which it hasn't done (in the past)," said Gentle, 27, who is now training in Wollongong with new coach Jamie Turner.

"That's the major games, you have to deal with that; even the things you might be best at will let you down sometimes."

Gentle was a bundle of nerves ahead of her 2016 Olympic campaign in Rio but has since consulted a psychologist and is slowly learning how to manage her emotions ahead of big races.

"I've been a bit more relaxed going into this race and trying to get the taper right and not push too much," she said.

"It's crazy that I've been doing this sport for so long but still learning so much, especially amongst the craziness of a major games."

While learning to relax has been key, Gentle also hopes the shock of moving south will help ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

"I've still got some of my best races in me and I think that because I keep learning from mistakes," she said.

"Tokyo is the goal; when I moved to Jamie last year I said to him I was all in.

"Hence the change of scenery; to achieve those things you have to put yourself outside your comfort zones."

American Katie Zaferes will enter with a tiny 34-point lead from Britain's Vicky Holland, who only needs to beat her to claim the title.

WOMEN'S WTS LADDER

1st - Katie Zaferes (USA) - 4418 points

2nd - Vicky Holland (GBR) - 4384

3rd - Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) - 3459

4th - Jessica Learmonth (GBR) - 3237

9th - Ashleigh Gentle (AUS)- 2500

(* 1st place earns 1250 points, 2nd place 1156 points, 3rd place 1068)