Strong International Field Lines Up At Oceania Sprint Champs
30 January 2014
Strong International Field Lines Up At Oceania Sprint Champs in Kinloch
The Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championships at Kinloch on the shores of Lake Taupo will be amongst the toughest races ever held in New Zealand outside of ITU World Cup and World Series events, with an international field descending on the venue to take on some of New Zealand’s leading triathletes in the latest round of the .kiwi Tri Series.
Saturday sees the individual races take place with mixed team relay racing on Sunday, with New Zealand Sprint titles also on the line for the Kiwis on Saturday but they will have their work cut out with a host of athletes from France, Australia, Ireland and Hong Kong lining up to chase vital ITU points.
World number 13 Ryan Sissons (Auckland) goes in as the leading New Zealander and top ranked athlete in the men’s field and is aware this will be a significant step up from his win in the .kiwi Series at Takapuna last weekend.
“This will be a decent field, there are a few French, Aussie and Irish athletes on the start line, with respect a totally different field to last weekend. I love the race here though, I always enjoy racing in Kinloch, it is a hard course and usually quite hot and with the quality of the field I am looking forward to another hard race.”
That field includes Australian Brendan Sexton, the London Olympian has the British sprint title on his CV and is returning to his best following a 2013 season interrupted by ill health. His countryman Jakob Birtwhistle won the gold at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Games Festival and is regarded as one of the future stars in the sport.
“My goal is to be in the front pack out of the swim, be in amongst it on the bike and close it down on the run again. The bike is always hard with the hill, it is going to be tough every lap. I am going to try and be near the front each lap and control things from there. I know I am really fit so there is no issue there, we know what we are in for on the bike but you want to save a little for the run, there are a few good Aussies, Bryan Keane (Ireland) and of course Doddsy who could be there off the bike so you know it is going to be quick.”
The ‘Doddsy’ Ryan is referring to is of course international team mate Tony Dodds who will line up for the first time this summer after bypassing Takapuna. The Wanaka based athlete has won twice on this course before but has some catching up to do after crashing out in the same event last year.
“Kinloch is a great course and I go well there so we will see how I go. I have won twice and always had good results but last year I crashed out so this year I am looking to get back on the podium again. We always go in reasonably fit and coming down from altitude I am a little tired but very fit. I have no big expectations, especially with the overseas contingent here to race.”
The Kinloch round of the .kiwi Tri Series forms a series of quality international standard races, followed next week at Pegasus in Christchurch and then in March by the ITU World Cup Sprint in New Plymouth. It is this growing calendar of draft legal races in New Zealand that is seeing the internationals come down under to train and race in the early part of the season, leading of course to the opening round of the ITU World Series in Auckland in April.
“So many groups and squads have come over to New Zealand to train for this series of quality races, it is great,” said Dodds. “It also offers a great way for us to start our season without having to travel and with ITU points on offer here and in Pegasus and New Plymouth the racing will be intense from the start. Our training has changed a little though to what we have done in the past, so I don’t think we will be lacking any speed.
“Tactically if you are strong you want to break away and try a few things but I am pretty tired coming off altitude so I will see how I feel on the day, I might conserve a little or I might try and go away and race to my strengths, I won’t be holding back, that is for sure.”
The men’s race over the sprint (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) gets underway at2pm on Saturday, preceded by the elite women’s race at 12.45pm with age group racing commencing at 6.50am with the Erin Baker Trophy standard distance race and National Sprint Championships in all age groups.
Entries remain open for all age group racing, including the kids 1:2:1, beginners 3:9:3 and national sprint championship races for all age groups and mixed team relay racingon Sunday.
The event is run by Triathlon New Zealand with the support of the Tūwharetoa Maori Trust Board, Taupo District Council and Tri-Sport Taupo.
2013/14 .kiwi Tri Series
Visit www.triseries.co.nz for all event information and online entries
Kinloch: Saturday 1st &
Sunday 2nd Feb 2014
Christchurch: Sunday 9th February 2014
Wellington: Saturday 8th March 2014
Please note: Standard distance national champs in Auckland as part of the ITU World Triathlon Series on April 5/6