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Hewitt Chases Fifth World Champs Medal in Seven Years

Hewitt Chases Fifth World Champs Medal in Seven Years

Triathlon New Zealand’s elite athletes take on the world in the ITU WTS Grand Final in Chicago this week, with double points up for grabs in the race to the year-end world rankings.

Andrea Hewitt (Canterbury) is the best placed of the New Zealanders heading into the final WTS event of the season, sitting in fourth place and in great shape to stand on the year end podium for the fifth time in seven years with a strong performance in Chicago.

She is far from alone though, with Simone Ackermann (Whangarei), Rebecca Clarke (Auckland) and Rebecca Spence (Auckland) joining her in the elite women’s race on Saturday (NZT).

Tri NZ lead coach Jon Brown looks ahead to racing from a Kiwi perspective.

“We are expecting Andrea and Ryan to go well after some good training together at altitude, both are gaining momentum in form now while many others are declining. The key for Ryan will having a decent swim as usual but he's feeling confident after Stockholm when he was close to the leaders out of the water and finished a strong 6th over the sprint distance.

“Simone has recovered from her recent illness and has bounced back with some good recent training; she'll be looking for a good swim and establishing herself in a strong front group. Potentially we could have three or four kiwi women in the front group which will demonstrate the strong presence we have at the women's top level at the moment.”

Ackermann is still very new to this level of racing but is focused on a season best performance on the biggest day of the year.

“This week is more significant than any other race in the season, being the Grand Final with more points and prestige on the line. As a result I am aiming to have my best race of the year here and put together a complete performance. I have enjoyed good parts to some races this season, but as yet haven’t put it all together on the one day.

“Over the last week training has been about recovering from racing in Edmonton, with a little bit of specific work to prepare for Chicago. My race is late in the day (5pm Chicago time), so preparation has focused on this with my training scheduled at around the same time to help me adjust.

“I feel like my overall fitness is good and I am looking forward to racing along with the rest of the New Zealand team.”

Ryan Sissons is the sole New Zealander in the elite men’s field, following the recent withdrawal through injury of Tony Dodds. The Aucklander goes into the race ranked 28 in the world, knowing that he can make up ground on those above him with a strong performance in what has been a less than satisfactory season. His 6th placing in Stockholm a fortnight ago suggests that the hard work in training might be starting to pay off, especially in the swim where he has been working on overhauling his swim stroke with the Rio Olympic Games in mind.

“Chicago this weekend is a chance to finish the season off on a high at the Grand Final,” says Sissons.

“I have been preparing in Girona and Font Romeu since Rio and have really enjoyed my time mixing it up with the Aussie team (Girona) and French guys (Font). It's been great to have people pushing me along each day and just learning and seeing what other top guys are doing. The last four weeks Laurent Vidal has been looking after Andrea and myself as well as two other French guys and I believe we have squeezed as much as possibly out for the last big show.

“I'm want to race well obviously, I have a plan and a goal and I'm going to race as well and as smart as I can to achieve that this weekend.”


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