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Final Hit Out For Beijing Bound Triathletes

18th July 2008

Final Hit Out For Beijing Bound Triathletes

The majority of the six strong New Zealand triathlon team for the Beijing Olympic Games will have a final competitive hit out at the Kitzbuehel World Cup in Austria this weekend before turning their attention fully to the race for Olympic gold.

Bevan Docherty, Kris Gemmell, Sam Warriner, Debbie Tanner and Andrea Hewitt all line up in the Austrian town on Sunday night New Zealand time, with just Shane Reed choosing to stay away and race in Boulder (USA), where he has been training for some months at altitude.

Both men and women face stern opposition with many other athletes also choosing Austria as a chance to get in one final competitive tune up before Beijing.

Form athlete Felicity Abram (4 World Cup medals in 2008) and local hope Eva Dollinger (runner up last year) loom large in the women’s event, as does Beijing bound Aussie Erin Densham.

In the men’s race the list is long on experienced and in form athletes with Alistair Brownlee (GBR), Reto Hug (SUI), Ivan Rana (SPN) and Volodymyr Polikarpenko (UKR) lining up against Docherty and Gemmell.

It isn’t however a case of all athletes going for broke to win in Austria, more a measured gauge of where each is at as the days count down towards Beijing.

New Zealand number one Sam Warriner says this weekend is something of a dress rehearsal for the big show, but she is nonetheless looking for a strong showing.

“I’ve spent some quality time at the Tri NZ base and done some great training, getting the work done. This week is all about role play, getting the physical side and the mental side ready for Beijing in a few weeks.

“I hope to have a solid swim, get out with the lead pack, ride with the other girls and stay with the stronger girls on the bike before obviously running as fast as I can.”

Andrea Hewitt has fond memories of Kitzbuehel, collecting her (so far) only World Cup victory there last year.

I have only good memories from Kitzbuehel and this will be my third time racing here. I have spent the past six weeks training in France with three of those weeks being up in the French Pyrenees at altitude at Font Romeu.

“With less than one month to go to the big day in China, this is my last race before heading to Beijing and I am looking forward to a good final effort.”

In the men’s race both Docherty and Gemmell will be looking for a good performance, for their own benefit but also as a ‘warning shot’ to the other Olympic contenders racing in Austria.

Gemmell brings good form from the French Grand Prix season with him while Docherty has been his usual consistent self all season and is never far from the podium – if indeed he is ever off it these days.

Kitzbuehel ITU World Cup, Austria
Elite Women: Sunday 20th July, 7.30pm
Elite Men: Sunday 20th July, 11pm

Elite Women – Ones to Watch:
Andrea Hewitt (NZL) – last year’s winner, selected to 2008 NZ Olympic team
Eva Dollinger (AUT) – silver medalist last year, selected to 2008 Olympic team
Felicity Abram (AUS) – 4 world cup medals in 2008, current world #1
Erin Densham (AUS) – selected to 2008 Australian Olympic team
Samantha Warriner (NZL) – world champs bronze medal, 2008 NZ Olympic team
Nicola Spirig (SUI) – selected to 2008 Swiss Olympic team
Debbie Tanner (NZL) – selected to 2008 New Zealand Olympic team
Christiane Pilz (GER) – selected to 2008 German Olympic team
Click here for women’s start list

Elite Men – Ones to Watch:
Bevan Docherty (NZL) – 2004 Olympic silver medal, selected to 2008 Olympics
Alistair Brownlee (GBR) – 2008 U23 world champion, selected to 2008 Olympics
Kris Gemmell (NZL) – selected to 2008 New Zealand Olympic team
Reto Hug (SUI) – 2008 world champs bronze medalist, selected 2008 Olympics
Ivan Rana (ESP) – 2002 world champion, selected to 2008 Olympic team
Filip Ospaly (CZE) - selected to 2008 Czech Olympic team
Volodymyr Polikarpenko (UKR) – 5 world cup wins, selected to 2008 Olympics
Sven Riederer (SUI) – 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, selected to 2008 Olympics
Click here for men’s start list


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