Stewart, Hackett claim Formula One triathlon series titles

Nicole Hackett took revenge on Olympic silver medalist Michellie Jones  Credit: Darren England/Allsport
The final round of the St. George Formula One Triathlon series kept the best until last with series champion Miles Stewart and Nichole Hackett confirming their status as the world's best Formula One triathletes.

Thousands of screaming fans lined the Manly, Australia foreshore to watch an awesome spectacle as Stewart, Brad Beven, Peter Robertson, Chris Hill and Courtney Atkinson sluged it out on the final two kilometer run leg of the Enduro format (300M swim, 7K bike, 2K run twice through).

The jovial and recently retired Greg Welch summed it all up in the final 2K run leg. In his role as guest TV commentator Welchie said, "this F1 is so bloody exciting, I hope I don't have a heart attack calling this finish."

For Stewart it was a great way to finish the series, to end Beven's six-year dominance in the F1 and the perfect way to begin his preparation for the upcoming Olympic trials.

"I was trying to stop Brad winning today because I knew he would be desperate to come out for a win. As we saw, he came back with a fantastic result, Robbo was up there and he is always a danger, but the guy that impressed me was Hilly, he was just going off," said Stewart.

"It was a tough race and that hurt more than any of the others, but this is the way I wanted to win, running off the front, not just sitting on and sprinting. It is a really good sign for the Olympic trials that I am coming home at a rapid rate and not tiring out and dropping back in the run.

"I have always said that whoever wins this series is the best triathlete around and the last event always brings out the best in everyone. They all want to go away from the F1 series a winner. Having the yellow jersey and winning the last race is more important than anything."

Stewart edged out training partner Chris Hill, with Brad Beven's welcome return to the podium, holding off the "smiling assassin," Peter Robertson.

Courtney Atkinson retained his second place overall, with Peter Robertson third and Chris Hill fourth in the F1 series standings.

Nicole Hackett's rule as the Queen of F1 continued when she teamed up with USA's Barb Lindquist to hand out a lesson in short course triathlon racing to some of the world's finest triathletes.

Hackett wrapped up the five race series how she began, strong in the pool and destroying the field on the bike. The dynamic duo of Hackett and Lindquist led from the first transition and never looked threatened in today's Enduro format.

With each lap they pulled further and further ahead leaving world champ Loretta Harrop, Michellie Jones, Melissa Ashton and Switzerland's Magali Messmer to sort out the minor placings.

Hackett had no mercy for her training partner, dropping Lindquist on the final 2 km run.

"I just wanted to come out and win the last race. I put everything into it today and I was hoping Barb would be able to work with me."

Hackett and Lindquist have been training together throughout the F1 series and in preparation for the Olympic trials in Sydney and Perth. Both ladies have the same goals to make their respective world's and Olympic teams.

"Barb is not an Australian and she is not going to affect my qualifying for the world champs or the Olympics. Sydney World Cup is my only chance to qualify, so I have to give it everything in Sydney in April. Hopefully if I do well enough I'll get a crack at the World Champs," said Hackett.

"I didn't get to clean sweep the series which was an aim but I crashed in Adelaide, which was my own stupid fault. Other than that I am extremely happy with the series. Extremely happy," Hackett said.

Lindquist's second place gave her fourth place overall and Michellie Jones beat Harrop for third place in a sprint finish which had the organizers diving for their calculators to determine final series standings. Jones and Harrop finished the series equal on 74 points but Harrop was awarded second place overall after a countback.

Magali Messmer's sixth place today secured her the Rookie of the Year and fifth place overall. Canada's Simon Whitfield took out the award in the men's.

Final Series Standings - Men

1. Miles Stewart
2. Courtney Atkinson
3. Peter Robertson
4. Chris Hill
5. Chris McCormack

Final Series Standings Women

1. Nicole Hackett
2. Loretta Harrop
3. Michellie Jones
4. Barb Lindquist
5. Magali Messmer

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