In previous years Ryan Sissons might have been a bit-part player, the entrée to the main course of Docherty and Gemmell. But this Sunday it somehow seems appropriate that the big improver on the ITU World Champs circuit in 2011 will have the spotlight well and truly on him at his home race in Takapuna.
23 year old Sissons has raced not so much in the shadow of Docherty and Gemmell in recent years but perhaps has followed in their world class footsteps. Last year though was something of a breakthrough season for the Auckland triathlete as he raced consistently all year in amongst elite company to finish the season ranked 18 in the world, number two Kiwi behind Docherty (16).
That form has led to Sissons having his eyes very much on a spot in the team for the London Olympics, knowing that with further improvement he may yet be a challenger for a top ten finish and who knows, maybe an outside shot at a medal.
This weekend he begins that pathway that he hopes will lead to the start pontoon in London on August 7 as he races in the popular Takapuna round of the Contact Tri Series over the super-sprint distance.
“I am really looking forward to Takapuna, I love this race and I have been on the podium the last 3 years, so I’m looking to go one better in 2012,” said Sissons.
Ironically though given the race is a ‘super sprint’ with a 500m swim, 16km bike and 4.2km run, Sissons is looking to capitalise on the long hours of training in his legs over recent weeks.
“I hope it’s a hard race to be honest, I’ve been doing a lot of solid base training and I will be looking to use this in the race if I can. If I get the opportunity I will be hitting it hard right from the start.
“I know that Kris and Bevan are not there this year but that won’t change my motivation, I have lost twice to Kris in a sprint before so will want to make sure if I am in a similar situation this year with anyone else, I will be doing everything possible to deal to my opposition early!
“Training has been great, it is all going to plan for Sydney in April, but in the meantime I am really looking forward to a bit of fun on Sunday and a chance to race well in front of a big crowd including family and friends.”
Sissons main opposition may well come from some of the emerging talent in the sport; ironic for an athlete that is himself only just making his way on the world stage. South Korean Ju Seok Kim provides the international flavour but the big push may come from the likes of Edward Rawles (Taranaki), last week’s national aquathlon winner Harrison Dean (Nelson) and Sam Osborne (Dunedin) all of whom line up in the U23 age group but on the same start line as Sissons.
Also it has been confirmed that Wanaka’s Nicky Samuels will line up in the women’s race, adding further depth and class to an already world class field including Barbara Riveros Diaz (Chile), Kate Roberts (South Africa), Kate McIlroy (Wellington) and Debbie Tanner (Auckland).
For further information including course maps, click here
Contact Tri Series
Sunday 19th February
Contact 3:9:3 Women 7:30am
Men (1) 8:40am
Men (2) & Teams 9:45am
Trophy Men 40+ 11:00am
Men <40 1:20pm
1:2:1 Boys 3:00pm
Contact Cup Women 3:55pm
Prize-Giving Macs Brew Bar 6:30pm