NZ Triathletes line up for Gold Coast World Series
New Zealand triathletes don’t have to travel far for the next round of the ITU World Triathlon Series with race three being hosted on the Gold Coast of Australia this weekend, in what is a new addition to the WTS circuit.
The event does have some history though, hosting the third ITU World Championships back in 1991 and the first Grand Final in the new WTS format in 2009. And with the Commonwealth Games looming large for the holiday hot spot in 2018, this weekend is a great ‘rehearsal’ for that Games triathlon, as well as a chance for more points, more medals and more great racing.
Photos - Sportzhub
Andrea Hewitt (above) will lead the Kiwis in the women’s race, along with Simone Ackermann who backs up from her outstanding 10th place finish in Auckland and Rebecca Clarke (below) - who was touch and go as to whether she would start Auckland after an injury scare. Hewitt heads into Saturday sitting in third place on the ITU World Series ranking and will be racing the top two in Gwen Jorgensen and Katie Zaferes, with both Americans seeded ahead of the Kiwi while Ackerman is at a career high 18 on the rankings.
Sophie Corbidge and Anneke Jenkins have made the call not to race on the Gold Coast as they battle lower back and hip injuries respectively, while Nicky Samuels continues her progress after injury curtailed her run training in recent weeks and has seen her miss the opening two rounds of the WTS.
In the men’s race, Tony Dodds and Ryan Sissons follow up from their strong openings to the season in Auckland, where they finished 10th and 12th respectively as both play the long game towards Chicago in September, and Rio next year.
Dodds (above) though says he has plenty of improving in him throughout the year.
“This is pretty quick off the back of Auckland but it is all about building through the year. Auckland wasn’t actually a great race for me and I am looking to improve. I got a solid result which I was happy about for sure, but this will be different, flat and fast and the heat will play a part as well. I have had a bit of a down build up after Auckland, my whole household was sick, I stayed clear though thankfully. Auckland showed how you can finish well by putting yourself in a good position in the front bunch, hopefully that will come off again and I can run a little better.”
Sissons is in a similar frame of mind, looking to race consistently throughout the year, putting together strong performances each race day.
“I am looking to continue on from Auckland, it is early season and only two weeks after Auckland. This though will be a different race, it is going to be interesting. It is going to be fast, if you get in a good position out of the swim and in a good group, you are going to set yourself up well. But there won’t be any letting up on this course, it will be a fast swim, fast bike and super-fast run, you will have to be on your game all day.”
Both fields are again cutting edge, with the best in the world assembling on the Gold Coast, including Auckland winners Jonny Brownlee (GBR) and Gwen Jorgensen (USA). Racing is expected to be very different to the tough and hilly Auckland course though, with Gold Coast offering a very flat, fast course with few hills to test the legs on the bike or run.