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Wilson upsets young guns in Noosa Tri

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016 Jim Morton

Bearded veteran Dan Wilson closed a chapter on a high with a surprise, sentimental Noosa Triathlon triumph on Sunday.

Leaving OIympic-distance racing behind to focus on the 70.3 half-ironman from next year, Wilson produced a fitting swansong with a long-awaited Noosa crown.

A two-time runner-up, including a three-second sprint finish loss to Aaron Royle two years ago, the 31-year-old used his strength in the ocean and on the bike to upset young guns Jake Birtwhistle and Ryan Fisher.

He grew up in Brisbane dreaming of one day winning Australia's most popular triathlon and wasn't going to let slip a one minute 17 second advantage at the final transition.

Birtwhistle edged closer in the first half of the 10km run but Wilson had the legs to ultimately cruise home 17 secs ahead for a jubilant 1:49:41 victory.

"I couldn't be happier," he said. "Not only after coming second twice (before) but it's Noosa.

"It's an institution if you grow up in Queensland.

"It was something I always wanted to do."

The 2014 Commonwealth Games representative decided after missing Rio Olympics selection to change to the longer half-ironman racing.

"I'm really excited and I think it's something that will suit me quite well," he said.

"The time feels right to have a bit of a change up and I find it really motivating to be honest."

Birtwhistle and Olympian Fisher were expected to fight it out but the pair were always playing catch-up after Wilson and Josh Amberger emerged from the ocean more than 40 seconds behind.

Wilson extended his lead with a superb bike leg in the Noosa hills but, with former world U23 champion Birtwhistle surging, didn't feel confident until a kilometre from the line.

"I knew it would be interesting because Jake's a great runner," he said.

"I knew it was going to be close but I was thinking 'I hope he's happy with second'."

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