Jake Birtwhistle produced a stunning kick to snatch back-to-back Hamburg silver medals in the latest World Triathlon Series round.
The Launceston product would orchestrate the most brilliant sprint finish to surge past Spain’s five-time world champion Javier Gomez and New Zealand’s Ryan Sissons.
He would all but beat allcomers in the closing stages to cross 12 seconds behind Spaniard winner Mario Mola.
“Since my days as a track and field athlete before I became a triathlete, I’ve always had that little something extra at the end,” Birtwhistle said about the fast finish.
“I’m rather happy I am able to call on it when I need it.”
The 22-year-old’s performance on Sunday morning has him on track to enter the Commonwealth Games as a genuine pre-race favourite.
He had already claimed Australia’s first automatic nomination next year with a top-10 finish in the Gold Coast pre-games qualifier.
That certainty is sure to help erase the bitter disappointment of discretionarily being overlooked to the 2016 Olympics despite recording the second best Australian time, but failing to be among one of three selections at Rio.
Birtwhistle looked like his Hamburg race was over when he dropped back to sixth after sitting second during the early stages of a five-kilometre run dominated by eventual winner Mola.
But with the finish line in his sights, the 2015 under-23 world champion typically found another gear and first charged past South African Richard Murray, the veteran Gomez before pipping Sissons by three seconds.
“I'm pretty happy with the race as a whole, I was comfortably up towards the front out of the water and played my cards right on the run,” a content Birtwhistle said.
“I took some chances, but it all ended up in a big bunch.
“I pushed the pace early in the run, but found myself dropping back in the middle stages.
“I was in top gear for as long as I could be over the last kilometre and in doing so closed some pretty significant gaps from sixth to eventually finish second.
“It certainly wasn't my plan to come from so far back, but it's times like that I’m thankful to know I have that extra gear.”
The Riverside’s star is continuing to rise from his 2013 youth Olympic triathlon gold to his under-23 world title in Chicago last September. He was also recognised with the 2016 Triathlon Australia emerging talent award.