LAUNCESTON triathletes win at Bridport.

LAUNCESTON triathletes proved difficult to topple at the first of the Tasmanian Triathlon State Series at Bridport today.

The Launceston Triathlon Club-hosted event is one of five to be hosted this season and was treated to an appearance from Hadspen cycling star Richie Porte.

Triathlon club spokesman Casey Mainsbridge said first-time Olympic distance entrant Jake Birtwhistle, of Launceston, won the men's main event and Launceston's Melissa Clark came through as top competitor in the women's peak race.

The half-distance sprint events were won by Andrew Watson, of Ulverstone, and Launceston's Natalia Smith.

Mr Mainsbridge said tough headwinds for the riders did not stifle entries, which reached a record number for the morning.

``It was a great day, weather-wise it was ideal ... we had over 200 participants,'' he said.

``Ritchie Porte was in a team which won the team's event, he rode an amazing bike leg _ he started about midfield then ended up first off the bike.

``It's amazing his team won and it was great to have him there and know who he is and what he's done.''

Mr Mainsbridge said he believed the influx of competitors for the event was due to growing national demand for the sport.

``There's definitely a lot of good athletes going around,'' he said.

``It seems we're quite strong across the state, particularly in the North at the moment _ during the past five years the club's really developed how its gone about club training sessions and club events.

``Nationally we punch above our weight in triathlons, we certainly do in cycling, there's been a growth in popularity, which is very pleasing, it means more people are keeping healthy and active.''

A Trystar event was also held for U12 entries.

Mr Mainsbridge said the next state meet would be held at Latrobe on January 26.

For more information go to www.launcestontriclub.com

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