SYDNEY - Germany's Steffen Justus claimed the biggest title of his career when he took out the opening round of the men's World Triathlon Series here on Saturday in 1hr 51min 04sec.
Justus pulled away on the run leg to win from South African Richard Murray, the first ever podium finish by an African, with Frenchman Laurent Vidal coming third.
Earlier, Australia's Erin Densham enhanced her Olympic triathlon selection prospects with a strong win in the women's race in 2hr 01min 29sec.
Denshan sprinted away in the final kilometre to win from Britain's world champion Helen Jenkins, with New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt third.
Justus stamped his authority on the race in the final 15 minutes of the bike leg when he surged to the lead alongside Murray and Vidal.
The German pulled ahead on the last lap then made a decisive move at the six kilometre mark of the run.
"The swim was solid. I'm not the best swimmer, so I sat in the middle of the pack," he said.
"In the bike I tried to stay in the top 10-15, but it was such a big group today - it's quite dangerous in the middle.
"From the six kilometre mark of the run I tried to push a bit... so I kept running and running to make a bigger gap and make it to the finish line."
Several athletes confirmed their Olympic berths during the race.
Ivan Vasiliev finished sixth, which should see Russia hold onto three spots in London, while Canadian trio Kyle Jones, Simon Whitfield and Brent McMahon all finished ahead of Portugal's Joao Pereira, which will help their country's chances of sending three athletes to the Olympics.
New Zealand's Kris Gemmell claimed his individual spot in London with seventh, but Australia's chances of sending three men suffered a blow after Courtney Atkinson did not race and both Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton withdrew on the bike.
In the women's race, Densham proved her World Cup win on Queensland's Sunshine Coast last month was not a one-off when she blitzed the field in the run leg to claim her first series win.
In another brilliant run just three weeks after her victory in Queensland, the 26-year-old Densham powered ahead in the final kilometre to take the title from reigning world champion Helen Jenkins of Britain.
New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt collected her sixth straight podium finish with third place.
Densham finished the swim in the top 10, rode with the leaders in a huge front pack in the cycle leg, and went quickly ahead in a group of seven in the run.
"There was more pressure today in knowing what I could do and coming to do it again," Densham said.
"I am sure there was probably a few people who thought it was a one-off, so I am just glad I have done it again and hopefully I can put some of those doubters to rest."