Emma-Kate Lidbury produced a career-best performance to win gold at the European Triathlon Championships in Portugal on Sunday.

The Oxfordshire athlete saw off hundreds of rivals to storm home by almost ten minutes in a staggering display in an event that did not include the elite of the sport.

The 28-year-old, who is sponsored by bike and triathlon retailer Wiggle.co.uk, completed the 1,500m swim in 19mins 51secs, the 40km bike ride in 1hr 14.40 before recording a rapid 37.53 split for the 10km run.

It gave her a winning margin of 9mins 43secs - a huge distance.

Lidbury admitted she exceeded all of her expectations.

"I knew that if things went well then I had a great chance of gold," she said.

"But to do it by the margin I did is just amazing. I never thought I would get that sort of time."

Lidbury, an Oxford Mail reporter, will now look for more glory in the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver, Canada, next month.

"I felt really good and everything fell into place nicely," she said.

"After about 20k of the bike ride I knew I had something like a five minute lead, and I was just thinking that I would have to be a real fool to throw away a lead like that!

"I just kept on pushing and things just all went according to plan - I'm really pleased with my run, that was a quick time."

Last year she won bronze in the women's 25-29 age group at the World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, and will be looking to improve on that.

She added: "Looking at my times, I am so far ahead of where I thought I would be at this time of the year which is great.

"I will just keep on training hard and hopefully continue to get better and better ahead of the World Champ- ionships."