Rory Thornhill's kicked off the 2020-21 Central West Inter-Club Triathlon series in style.
A member of the NSW Triathlon Emerging Talent Squad, Thornhill beat home some of the region's most decorated triathletes to claim maximum points from the series' opening round at Mudgee on Sunday.
Graduating from James Sheahan on Saturday night, Thornhill showed no ill affects to post a time of 49 minutes and 45 seconds in the grand prix format.
Thornhill beat home Bathurst's Nick North (50:47) and Josh Stapley (52:01), the pair coming up just short in their pursuit of the Orange Piranahas star.
Thornhill headed the pack in the opening round of the season, which doesn't resume again until the annual Australia Day round at Bathurst on January 26.
Dean sisters Abby and Molly finished on the podium in the women's race, edged home by Hollee Simons for maximum points in the opening round.
The Bathurst triathlete, fresh off the previous weekend's victory in her local series, beating the Dean duo over the grand prix format.
Simons, a seriously talented triathlete but one that excels on two wheels, completed the course in a time of 57 minutes and five seconds, seeing off challenges from Abby Dean (58:19) and Molly Dean (59:38).
With only one bike leg but twice the normal number of swim and run legs in Sunday's race it meant Simons was determined to make the most of every kilometre she spent on two wheels.
And that's exactly what she did.
Simons left her rivals behind her on the bike but was still able to maintain the gap over the chasers over the closing two legs to continue her strong preparation for her Ironman bid.
Simons said she had to work hard to keep her young challengers behind her.
"It was really good to race people from outside the club. There's some really talented juniors in the Orange club and it's always exciting racing against them," she said.
"It was fairly close the whole way and it came down to around two minutes in the end, but the first half of the race was very close. Up until the middle of the ride we were all within 90 seconds of each other.
"But at that point I could use my cycling strength to my advantage and pull away."
The last swim and run legs went better than Simons expected, in regards to maintaining the gap, and said that's a great sign for the rest of the season.
"I don't think they reeled back too much time, and it was a big highlight for me to not give away too much time," she said.
"My focus is more towards long course, given I've got an Ironman coming up in 15 weeks time, so to still be competitive in this shorter course racing is good as well."
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