Emma Moffatt wins the open women's race at the Caloundra Triathlon.
Emma Moffatt wins the open women's race at the Caloundra Triathlon. Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Moffatt starts new year in winning style

EMMA Moffatt began the long build-up to the World Championships last Sunday with a dashing victory in the Caloundra Triathlon.

In her first 2009 outing, the Northern Beaches native claimed her second success in Queensland's Gatorade Tri Series.

But to stand on the winner's podium she had to negotiate a traffic jam of competitors and push through the pain barrier after tackling a sprint event containing stages far shorter than she's normally used to.

Moffatt agreed the super sprint race with a 400m swim, 15km cycle and 4km run was a much harder assignment than her preferred Olympic distance, especially with an astonishing 1850 competitors lining up for the starter's gun.

“I certainly wasn't confident going in ... over short distances anything can happen and there is no room for a breather and that can hurt,” she said.

Eventual third-placegetter Melissa Trims stayed glued to Moffatt's shoulder during the swim and bike legs but the Olympic bronze medallist put her foot to the floor in the run leg and cruised ahead in a winning time of 45 minutes 21 seconds.

Trims was just cut down for second place when local star Rachael Paxton made a late charge on the line with both competitors collapsing across the tape in the humid conditions.

Encouraged by the result, Moffatt was adamant 2009 would be the year she finally cracked the shield of invincibility surrounding close friend and main rival, Emma Snowsill.

“Everyone is chasing Emma at the moment,” she agreed.

“She is the standout but I'm training hard so we'll just see what unfolds.

“It is really great to be part of these events and see so many people getting into this great sport ... it's so motivating to me.”

Next weekend she heads to Hobart in search of back-to-back victory at the Australasian Sprint Titles.

On Sunday, March 1, Moffatt will gradually step up in distance when she attempts to defend her Oceania Title in the Luke Harrop Memorial Gold Coast Triathlon.

It's expected when as many as 2000 entrants will attack the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run stages.

Moffatt will meet Snowsill for the first time this year when both contest the ITU World Cup in Mooloolaba on March 29 as part of preparations for the World Triathlon Championships on the Gold Coast during September.

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