Launceston triathlete Jake Birtwhistle matched it with the world’s best over the weekend in the inaugural Super League Triathlon at Hamilton Island.
Birtwhistle, 22, finished third overall with two-time Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee and world champions Javier Gomez Noya and Mario Mola among many in the field.
He won the first stage of the Triple Mix – three rounds of a 300 metre swim, 6km bike and 2km run in alternating order with a 10-minute break in between – and finished day one 10 points behind South African Richard Murray in first place.
Launceston’s under-23 world champion finished second in the individual time trial on day two, clocking nine minute and 42 seconds.
It was 0.2 seconds slower than trial champion Cameron Dye. Birtwhistle then performed strongly in the Equaliser’s swim-run-swim-bike-run sequence in second place to earn himself a valuable 18 points.
He went into the Eliminator on Sunday ranked fifth overall and 12 points behind Murray.
Birtwhistle crossed the line in third place in the first race of three Eliminator races and backed it up 10 minutes later to do exactly the same.
In the third and final race, the top 10 triathletes went head to head and Birtwhistle was second out of the water.
He had a strong ride and powered away in the run to win the stage in 20.08.
But it was not enough to overtake Murray who ended up with 56 points for the weekend – eight more than Birtwhistle. Mola finished second with 49 points.