Hodge opens season with a win

LAUNCESTON elite triathlete James Hodge showed impressive early season form to easily win the Launceston Triathlon Club's season-opening event at Beauty Point yesterday.

The world age-group champion led from start to finish to take the open men's sprint distance event of a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre cycle and 5km run.

Launceston's Dylan Evans finished second with Marc Hardy third.

Launceston's Natalea Smith won the open women's race from Kate Pedley and Mel Clark.

The open novice event, contested over distances of 300m swim, 10km ride and 2.5km run, went to 14-year-old Kier Crooks, of Launceston, who won in a close finish from another Launceston junior in Jock Tate, with Adrian Wilson third in his first triathlon.

Alex Spillane, 14, of Launceston, took out the open novice women's event in her second triathlon from Inighion Quinn and Traci Lonergan.

Winners in the junior category were Andrew Watson and Millie Chapman, while the veteran men's went to Shad Hearn and the women's to Narelle Wynwood.

About 135 competitors took part in the first triathlon event of the season including athletes from the North-West and Hobart.

``It was a big increase in numbers from this time last year,'' race organiser Casey Mainsbridge said.

``We had a lot of first-timers, which was great, and it was a perfect day conditions wise.''

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