Glen Alpine triathlete fights to the finish

Australian triathlete Natalie Van Coevordon has snagged her first podium finish at the World Triathlon Series (WTS) with just a second to spare.

The Glen Alpine resident headed to Abu Dhabi to race against the world’s best competitors.

“Coming into the final 400 metres, we were all still close when I saw the third place girl pull in to the penalty box,” she said.

“I just kicked as hard as I could to the finish line. It was definitely a moment of ‘how much do you want this?’.

“It was a photo finish and I couldn’t be happier to get third by one second.”

Ms Van Coevordon said she was delighted by the win.

“It took a while to sink in but I am ecstatic getting my first WTS podium as it is something I have worked hard towards for so long,” she said.

“I knew I had to back myself and race with intent from start to finish.”

The race got off to a rough start with poor weather throwing a spanner in the works.

“Race day threw everyone off guard with rain starting to fall and a colder air temperature,” Ms Van Coevorden said.

“Abu Dhabi gets about three days of rain a year and racing on the F1 track was going to make critical moments even trickier.

“Before I even got to the race site, I was covered in sand, water and muck off the roads.”

Ms Van Coevordon said the swim was the easiest part of the race. “I exited the water in sixth position,” she said.

“I could see the few athletes in front of me so I knew I would have to work hard on the first part of the bike section and not panic.”

Ms Van Coevordon said the bike section was one of the more demanding parts of the Abu Dhabi triathlon course.

”Within minutes people were crashing and I knew that I had to ride to myself even if it took one or two seconds more to get around the corner, it wasn’t worth the risk of doing a season ender,” she said.

“After the second lap on the bike, I got more familiar with where it was still quite wet and I became more comfortable.”

The local triathlete’s next race is at the Mooloolaba World Cup.