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NZ's Prepare For World Team Championships In Hamburg

July 19 2013

New Zealanders Prepare For World Team Championships In Hamburg

Hamburg this weekend plays host to the latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series and then hosts the ITU Elite Mixed Relay World Championships, with the athletes backing up on consecutive days to chase individual points and a team’s title for their nation.

Racing on the Saturday is over the sprint distance (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) while those involved in the Mixed Teams World Championship on the Sunday race over a super sprint distance (300m swim, 6.6km bike, 1.6km run), with each athlete completing the distance before tagging a team mate until all four have completed the course.

New Zealand will be represented this weekend by Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch – 9th on world rankings), Kate McIlroy (Wellington – 12th), Rebecca Kingsford (Tirau) in the women’s race and Ryan Sissons (Auckland – 9th), Tony Dodds (Wanaka – 23rd) and Bryce McMaster (Auckland – 53rd) in the men’s, with Kingsford and McMaster standing by as reserves for the Teams race on Sunday.

Triathlon NZ National Coach Greg Fraine talks of the balance on such a weekend.

“The athletes prepare for both events and in our case we have come together well. We have a very even team, a group of athletes who know each other well and have a desire to perform well for each other and for New Zealand. The focus initially is Saturday and the individual race, we will then go into recovery mode and prepare for Sunday.

“They understand this format well now and as far back as Kinloch this year we were rehearsing for this weekend’s event. We are a team who can race in an attacking mindset or race more defensively depending on the situation. Our order though is pretty set, we have a good leader in Andrea who will lead out, Kate will be third and we will decide on Ryan and Tony in regards racing second and fourth.”

Fraine says while the focus this season remains the season ending Grand Final in London when athletes will be looking to qualify for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, there are goals at each event along the way.

“The focus is London, but each race during the season is a good test of where we are at and a reflection of how training is going. Of course we are always hoping for top ten results but we are also focused on the process of going through each discipline, concentring on performance with results following on from that, all of which leads us towards London.”

Tony Dodds is feeling in much better condition than before the latest ITU World Triathlon Series race at Kitzbuehel where a calf strain hindered his preparation.

“I am definitely feeling better than Kitzbuehel, I was a little rough as a result of a calf strain and had only started running five days out from that race. But I had my first track and hard session last week, so all been good leading into this race, I’m looking forward to it.”

As for the backing up on consecutive days, 23rd ranked Dodds is not concerned.

“We’ve done it before, we just take it one step at a time, recovery after the race is vital to prepare for Sunday, but we are all in the same boat, from our perspective it will be very organised with nothing left to chance. We have a strong team with a good spirit amongst us, some have one person who is not so strong as the others but we have four strong athletes and will race hard for each other.”

Kate McIlroy raced well on the Hamburg course last year in the lead up to the London Olympics and is ready for the weekend.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for a few months; we had a pre-run in Kinloch earlier this year so it has been a long time coming. Being involved with the team you do feel some pressure not to let anyone down but we can all handle that and if anything it makes us perform better. We have lived together and trained together for the last few months and know each other pretty well.”

McIlroy spoke of her season now building towards the London Grand Final and the main aim of qualifying for the Commonwealth Games next year.

“The main goal this season is London, to race well in the Grand Final and to qualify for Glasgow. It has been a long season but we enjoyed a good training block at altitude and have laid a good foundation for the next few months of racing leading into London, with Hamburg this weekend and then Stockholm along the way.”

Photo Credit: Mike Heydon. The NZ team winning the Oceania Mixed Relay Championship at Kinloch in February 2013


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