Holland beats Gentle to triathlon Cup gold

Murray Wenzel

Uncertainty around Olympic spots and this year's racing schedule in general has fuelled England's Vicky Holland to what could be a crucial triathlon World Cup gold in Mooloolaba.

The 34-year-old and countrywoman Georgia Taylor-Brown controlled the sprint distance race throughout to go one-two, with Australia's defending champion Ashleigh Gentle rallying for a gutsy third.

Points earned will go towards Olympic selection later this year but with the coronavirus wreaking havoc on the world's sporting fixtures Holland knew how important it was to make a statement in what could be a rare circuit appearance.

After a 750m swim in choppy seas, Gentle had to do the heavy lifting in the chasing pack on the 20km bike leg but still found herself well back on her favoured 5km run leg.

She stormed home in the final 1500m though, overtaking compatriot Emma Jeffcoat (fifth), who had led the field to begin the run leg.

No Australian or English triathlete has secured their Tokyo spot, with points up for grabs in World Cup and World Triathlon Series races until May.

But selection will remain discretionary, leaving the likes of 2016 world champion Holland and Australian medal hope Gentle on their toes.

"On paper this is a World Cup, not a World Series (which carries more qualification weight), but it means a lot more than that in the current climate," Holland said.

"We don't know what's happening in this world; today might well be my only race for quite a long time."

Gentle said she had done her best to stay in her Brisbane bubble and admitted her plans wouldn't change much given she wasn't planning on racing overseas until May.

"It's going to keep changing, so I'll stay in Australia and hang out until I'm told otherwise," she said.

"I'm not part of the (Olympic) team yet, but I've put myself in a good position these last two years.

"But I'm not a selector; I'd love to go, so will just be giving it my all in anything that goes ahead."

Grinding out bronze will help Gentle, while Jeffcoat's efforts will have caught selectors' eyes.

Jaz Hedgeland was the next-best Australian in 11th while Natalie Van Coevorden was 16th.

ITU TRIATHLON WORLD CUP MOOLOOLABA

1 - Vicky Holland (57:45 minutes)

2 - Georgia Taylor-Brown (58:00)

3 - Ashleigh Gentle (58:12)

4 - Andrea Hewitt (58:13)

5 - Elizabeth Bravo (58:17)

6 - Emma Jeffcoat (58:30)