TRIATHLON superstar Craig Alexander overcame two wrong turns to overhaul main rival Pete Jacobs and claim his sixth Australian long course title on Sunday.
The world Ironman champion bridged a two minute gap coming off the bike leg to catch defending champion Jacobs halfway through the closing 20km run leg then pulled way to win by a minute in 3:36.04 at Huskisson on the NSW south coast.
But Alexander had to call on all his composure during some early hiccups.
He was among a lead group on the swim course that was initially led in the wrong direction by officials and recovered well to exit the water within 90 seconds of noted swimmers Clayton Fettell and Jacobs.
And a wrong turn early in the bike leg also hurt help his cause, but he kept the leading pair within striking distance during the 80km ride.
“I had a diabolical swim here last year and, considering a bit of a hiccup at the start, I was pretty happy to come out of the water where I did,” Alexander said.
“I thought Pete was the danger-man because he’s in pretty good shape for this time of the year, so I wanted to keep close enough to him, then I was able to step things up on the run and pick him up.”
Queenslander Carrie Lester announced her arrival in top company in the women’s race, clearing out on the bike and holding good form on the run to record a comprehensive victory in 4:01.55, five minutes clear of Pip Taylor.
Lester reeled in Taylor, who had led the field out of the swim by more than a minute, and her race fitness proved valuable, having won the Canberra Half Ironman and come second in the Geelong 70.3.
“It took me a little while to get settled on the bike but once I sorted myself out I put the foot down and cleared off,” said the 29-year-old Sunshine Coast resident, who has made an impressive transition from age group athlete to long course professional over the past 12 months.