Appleton came out of the water in third position, trailing fellow Australians Josh Amberger and Luke William. Once he hit the bike, Appleton was in a class of his own. Riding his Trinity Advanced Pro with a CADEX Aero WheelSystem, he scorched the 90km bike leg with the fastest time of the day.
“To give myself the best opportunity for the win, I knew I needed to swim fast and try to string the field out,” Appleton said. “Fortunately, Josh Amberger had the same race tactic and we worked really well together on the bike.”
Heading into the second transition, Appleton made the key move of the day. He gained a slight advantage over Amberger at the end of the bike leg and never looked back.
“I tasted some blood in the water when Josh dropped off right at the end of the bike, and I entered transition solo,” he said. “I used that momentum and started the run hard and created a nice gap to the other guys that I was able to maintain and finish strong and claim the title.”
Van Berkel put in a strong effort to finish fifth on the day, making it two Giant riders in the top-five.
Afterward, Appleton said it felt great to take his third career win at Geelong as he looks ahead to other goals as well.
“I made some changes with coaching at the end of 2021 and we have taken on a slightly different training approach,” he said. “So to have this result reinforce that we are on the right track is a great confidence booster going forward. It's a long season and the major goals for me fall in the back half of the year, but having an early season race is a great test to see where the body is at and what we need to work on going forward. I have some lofty goals this season and there are always improvements to be made.”