KOROIT athlete Elizabeth Doueal hopes to be riding against the country’s best female cyclists by the end of the year.
Doueal announced the lofty goal after being the first female home in the Warrnambool Foreshore Triathlon yesterday.
The 21-year-old finished in one hour, seven minutes and 57 seconds, ahead of Lisa Worrall (1.08.41) and Susan Pettigrew (1.10.36). The victory marked a milestone on the road to recovery for the one-time national-level middle distance runner.
Doueal had a bright future on the pavement before breaking the navicular bone in a foot on Christmas Eve, 2009.
She recovered, broke the bone a second time, had surgery and attempted a comeback “but I tore my fascia plantar and had to have surgery again”.
The recurring injuries prompted her to make the tough decision to turn her focus to cycling under the tutelage of Gary Parsons.
“Now I’m keen to go forward and try and get in a team,” she said. “Once you’re in a team you’ve got all the support. I don’t know (if I will get into a team). At the moment I’ve had smaller wins on the bike.
“It’s looking like I’m going to have to move to try and pursue it further so I can be more available for the support.”
Doueal said she hoped to contest the two-day Tour of the South West in April and legs of the National Road Series.
Doueal took control of the Warrnambool Foreshore Triathlon on the first lap of the bike leg. She thought she would need a big lead to hold on, considering she was running for the first time in two years. “As soon as I came into transition I was ‘holy crap how am I meant to keep ahead in the run’,” she said.
“Kris McCartney passed me and said ‘Liz, you’ve got a gap, keep going’. I was ‘oh thanks’, it was surprising.”