ITU Chengdu World Cup - Small group of Kiwi's racing
A small group of New Zealand triathletes will race at the ITU Chengdu World Cup in China this week, the final chance to earn Olympic ranking points in this first cycle as nations look to book spots on the start line in Rio 2016.
Ryan Sissons and Sophie Corbidge will lead the way for New Zealand and be joined by Sam Ward and Cooper Rand as the two youngsters gain vital international experience and mix it up with a strong international field.
For Corbidge the race serves different purposes as she regains fitness after a recent injury set back.
“Chengdu is an opportunity for me to earn some more ITU points, but will also be an introduction back into racing since I had a relapse in my lower back/hamstring injury. IIt is now under control though and I am getting back into full training, so Chengdu will be a good race to see where I'm at as I build back into peak fitness.”
Tri NZ High Performance Coach Jon Brown is looking for more good gains by the athletes as they continue their international seasons, albeit with athletes at different stages of their racing or recoveries in the case of Corbidge and Sam Ward.
“Chengdu is the last opportunity for Ryan, Sophie and Sam to earn Olympic qualifying points in the first qualifying period, this is the principal reason for Ryan going there. Also it's a chance for our guys to race top tier opposition and realistically challenge for a podium finish. I'm keen our athletes learn and gain experience that will allow them to win or challenge for podiums at WTS and World Cup level racing level is ideal practice for this.”
Conditions will play a part with Chengdu traditionally warm and humid, often with a blanket of haze to further complicate things for the athletes and so far this week that has been very much the pattern.
Favourites in the men’s race alongside Sissons include Joe Maloy (USA) and Irving Perez (Mexico) – both of whom will enjoy the conditions while there will be interest in one of the older athletes on the ITU circuit chasing ranking points and a shot at another Olympic Games with 38 year old Hunter Kemper (USA) entered.
In the women’s race Lisa Perterer (Austria) and Annamarie Matterazzi (Italy) are the top two seeds, with Jessica Broderick (USA) likely to threaten as well, buoyed by the recent success of the American women’s programme.