Ashleigh Gentle has won her first World Triathlon Series Race.
Ashleigh Gentle has won her first World Triathlon Series Race. A4867/_Christophe Gateau

Breakthrough succes for triathlon star Gentle

ASHLEIGH Gentle has overcome illness to win her first World Triathlon Series race.

The Gold Coast triathlete broke down in tears after producing the race of her career to beat series leader - and formerly unbeaten - Flora Duffy in Montreal on Sunday morning (AEST).

Gentle had been battling the flu in the week leading up to the race upon her arrival in Canada and only decided to compete in the final hours before the event.

"I arrived into Montreal feeling sick and didn't know whether I would be able to race - I only made my decision this morning, hours before the start," Gentle said.

"I've got to say a huge thanks to my coach Jamie Turner who installed some things in my mind to just focus on the little things and the inspiration from Gwen (Jorgensen).

"I'm in shock really ... I can't believe it. I had my first WTS start in the London Test event in 2011 so it's been six long years of ups and downs, five silver medals and finally I've had a win ... that was a tough race for me."

The Commonwealth Games-bound triathlete came out of the water in a strong position and got off the bike with the lead pack before putting together her usual strong run leg to leave Duffy in her wake and win in a time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 3 seconds.

The 26-year-old has moved back into second position on the world ranking with two more races left including Stockholm at the end of the month and the grand final in Rotterdam on September 16.

It is a breakthrough victory for the 2010 junior world champion and who has finished second five times in her elite career.