Gentle outguns rivals for thrilling T100 victory

Ashleigh Gentle retained her Singapore T100 crown in dramatic fashion

By Ben Hart, Sportsbeat

Defending champion Ashleigh Gentle announced her return to the T100 circuit with a brilliant and battling victory in Singapore.

After missing the Miami T100 season opener, Aussie Gentle looked to be off the pace when trailing Britain’s Lucy Charles-Barclay by more than five minutes heading into the run.

The 33-year-old then produced a sensational effort in the stifling heat to complete an unlikely turnaround, finishing the 18km run in 1 hour 9 minutes 10 seconds to claim gold.

“It feels a bit surreal to be honest, it’s not how I thought I would start the year, it surprised me a little but I’m obviously very happy,” she said.

“I definitely didn’t think I was going to be able to do too much, it was pretty depressing getting the bike splits thinking it was getting too much to overcome, but thankfully I handled the conditions on the run better than most other athletes and that was the big difference.

“I didn’t think it was possible until I saw her (Charles-Barclay) and most of the time on the run I just wanted it to be over, so I was happy to see that finish tape.”

Victory for Gentle ensures she maintains her remarkable record of having never finished outside the top two in a 100km race.

She led from start to finish at the same event last year and admits the two victories could not have felt more different.

“Last year I felt in my flow and really comfortable and really strong whereas this year it was very gritty and hard,” she said.

“It’s the same result but the feeling of getting that result feels so different.

“It’s one of those things as athletes you have to persevere no matter the circumstances you are faced with and how you are feeling, I’m really glad I was able to stay composed and still perform at a really high level.

“I found the heat quite hard on the bike but I think that’s because I was suffering anyway. Once I got into the run I felt like I needed a lot more water and it was pretty difficult but I found my flow and was able to claw back more time than I thought I was going to be able to.”

After claiming her third win in six races over the 100km distance, Gentle set her sights on another race success in San Francisco in June.

“It gives me a lot of confidence because I feel like I can perform a lot better in future races,” she added.

“To be able to win is a really good starting point and makes me motivated to go home and train hard for San Francisco T100.”