A TWO-man race is developing at the top of the Nutri-Grain Ironman series ladder, with Shannon Eckstein and Matt Bevilacqua going toe-to-toe at Newcastle yesterday.
Bevilacqua upset the seven-time series winner in taking out round three.
Eckstein finished second.
He still holds a slender series lead over Bevilacqua heading into round four today and they are a comfortable nine points clear of nearest rival Ali Day.
Noosa's Jack Moyes sits in fifth position on the table after coming in eighth yesterday.
The 22-year-old has 30 points to make up on the series leaders, but can make his presence felt with a strong performance today.
"He (Eckstein) is obviously the best, but you've just got to go out and do your best," Moyes said.
"I was getting pretty close but just couldn't go past them.
"It's really exciting for me to be up there."
Moyes said he was hoping for a good performance today.
"I'm feeling good ... I'll go for a swim, get the lactic out, enjoy the afternoon and hopefully tomorrow we can do well."
After finishing second in rounds one and two at Coolum, Bevilacqua could not quite believe he'd got one over the series leader.
"I actually felt confident but I'm still a bit numb, to be honest, I can't really believe it," he said.
Four years ago Bevilacqua packed up his car in Tasmania and drove to Queensland to train under the guidance of renowned swim coach Dennis Cotterell and Olympian and former Ironwoman Series champion Naomi Flood.
"It's been a bit of a rollercoaster and it hasn't been easy but I haven't missed any training sessions in four years - a win has been a long time coming," he said.
Dane Farrell and Matt Poole finished fourth and fifth respectively, leaving both well down the leaderboard heading into round four.
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