We’re excited to announce that professional triathlete Ashleigh Gentle will continue racing with Felt Bicycles for the 2021 season. The Australian star first joined forces with Felt Bicycles in 2014. Since then, Gentle has scored some incredible racing results, including several victories and top finishes in the ITU World Triathlon Series, as well as a record seven victories at the famed Noosa Triathlon. Gentle’s biggest goal for the 2021 season will be the triathlon event at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Games were postponed in the summer of 2020 and rescheduled for 2021.
Whatever challenges this season brings, however, Gentle will be ready to race and continue to be a top contender in every event she enters.
"I'm extremely excited to continue to work with Felt Bicycles into 2021," says Gentle. "It will be our eighth year working together. I not only love the fast bikes, but the feeling of truly being part of the Felt family. We are heading into the Olympic year and the AR aero road bike will be my bike of choice. I'm looking forward to representing Felt on the race course."
Read on to learn more about Ashleigh—and what her preparation for an Olympic campaign unlike any other has been like.
FELT: What has it been like working with Felt Bicycles for so many years
Ashleigh: I appreciate the long relationships that I’ve formed with Felt Bicycles. There is a loyalty which has been reciprocated for many years, and it helps me as a professional athlete knowing that the team at Felt has my back and truly believes in me. They want me to be the best I can be and will celebrate the victories, but also be there through the tough times.
FELT: Tell us about your Felt race bikes.
Ashleigh: I really love the recent update to the AR aero road bike. The new model is clean, integrated, and it has disc brakes. It’s always been my favorite road bike, as it feels very fast and stiff, but it also handles well. I don’t ride my IA triathlon bike too much, but each year when I do the Noosa Triathlon, I can quickly get used to the position and have always felt I have adapted to the bike really quickly.
FELT: Describe the significance of being named to your nation’s Olympic team. Is the Olympic Games your biggest goal in 2021?
Ashleigh: I feel like it’s very significant and it takes a lot of stress out of the year. I have one focus, and that is to be at my best at the Olympics. Everything else is just a stepping stone to get there. I have always had incredible Australian role models who have represented our country at the Olympics, and their legacy continues to inspire me to be the best I can be.
FELT: What's it like competing in the Olympics compared to other triathlon events?
Ashleigh: I have been to one Olympic Games—in Rio in 2016—and it was a bit of a whirlwind. I have been competing on the world stage for a long time now, but the Olympics is that next level. Everyone has been waiting at least four years for their one opportunity, and there is a lot of excitement and also nervousness in the air.
FELT: Tell us about your training plan for leading up to the Olympics. Are you doing anything differently this year because of that big goal?
Ashleigh: Because of the pandemic, there’s not much very normal about the lead-up to this Olympics. I used my time really wisely in 2020, doing a lot of ground work without ever going to the edge. I feel refreshed after over a decade of chasing the circuit around the world, and I feel like I’m ready for take things to the next level this year. It’s hard to make plans to be overseas before the Olympics, so I will focus on preparing in Australia. I feel this is an advantage being on similar times to Japan, which is only an eight-hour, direct flight away.
FELT: What else should we know about your plans for the 2021 racing season?
Ashleigh: It’s hard to make a perfect plan when you know there will be unknowns and sudden changes, so being adaptable is really important. I am going to embrace all the opportunities that I am given this year. I am always blown away by just how much sport can bring people together, and I hope to be able to represent myself, Australia, and Felt Bicycles to the best of my ability at the Olympic Games and all other competitions in 2021.
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