Kiwis Eye Strong Performances at ITU New Plymouth World Cup
18th March 2014
Kiwis Eye Up Strong Performances at ITU New Plymouth World Cup
Triathlon New Zealand National Coach Greg Fraine is buzzing about the chance to effectively open the 2014 international season at home with the hosting of the Port Taranaki ITU New Plymouth World Cup this weekend.
In a sport that typically sees athletes travelling around the globe chasing the big events and ranking points, the New Zealanders are able to train from the comfort of home with the New Plymouth event followed two weeks later by the season opening World Triathlon Series race at the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland event.
New Zealand will be strongly represented in New Plymouth this Sunday in the first World Cup race there since 2008; Fraine says everything about the start to the season plays into the hands of the Kiwis.
“This is such a great opportunity to be racing at home at the start of the season in the Port Taranaki ITU World Cup. To be able to kick off the season at home rather than travelling gives us a good home advantage. We know what to expect, some of our athletes have raced this venue in the past and we know the area well.
“This is some quality field though, and we certainly can’t go in thinking we can cruise. When you look at some of the fields early in last year’s World Series events, this exceeds many of those, both the quality and form already is impressive. Last weekend in Mooloolaba Mola and Murray were outstanding, and in the women’s Gwen Jorgensen reaffirmed herself as the leader in the sport.”
Fraine says expectations may vary slightly amongst the New Zealanders in the fields, but ultimately they are all looking for strong performances on Sunday.
“Everyone has been working fantastically, training well, and they are eager to be tested. For some this race presents a bigger challenge, for others it will mean a few tweaks before Auckland. This race and this season do present a slight change in culture around wanting to test and be tested in a racing environment and not being scared to front up and have people ask questions about how good they can be, this is great opportunity to address that at the start of the season.”
A number of the Kiwis are coming off injuries, with Kate McIlroy and Simone Ackermann in that category. Fraine says the day will be more about key targets and process than results for some.
“They are all at various stages of build up for the year, Kate is coming back from injury, and is eager to get out and just race, and it is long time since she has done anything in anger. Simone is coming off a long injury break too. For them there is less expectation around results and more on the process on a limited build up, this is if you like another step in their rehabilitation, the biggest challenge so far but another step nonetheless.
“For some of the younger triathletes this is a chance to assess against a quality international field and gauge how their build up has gone and how they have progressed and test themselves in a quality field. They are coming along well and pushing the senior athletes and their own cases forward, this is a chance to make everyone sit up and take notice.”
New Zealanders racing in the Port Taranaki ITU New Plymouth World Cup on Sundayare:
Elite Women: Andrea
Hewitt, Christchurch. Kate McIlroy, Wellington. Nicky
Samuels, Wanaka. Simone Ackermann, Whangarei. Mikayla
Nielsen, Waikato. Rebecca Clarke, Auckland. Fiona Crombie,
Christchurch. Anneke Jenkins, Tauranga. Laura Wood,
Elite Men: Ryan Sissons, Auckland. Tony Dodds, Wanaka. Andrew Ranford, Auckland. Sam Ward, Auckland. Martin van Barneveld, Wellington. Bryce McMaster, Australia based.
Full start lists CLICK HERE
*others may yet make the start list subject to withdrawals and their place on the ITU wait list.
Age group racing on the Sunday morning will cater for everyone from beginners to experts, all over the short sprint distance (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) with a relay option where competitors can do one of the disciplines before passing on to their team mate to complete the next leg of the race.
Entries are open at www.itunewplymouthtriathlon.co.nz
Taranaki New Plymouth ITU World Cup Triathlon
Sunday March 23rd
7.30am: Corporate and Age Group racing starts
Midday: Elite Women, ITU World Cup
2.30pm: Elite Men, ITU World Cup
For further information monitor the website: www.itunewplymouthtriathlon.co.nz