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All but two of New Zealand’s London bound triathletes will race in Austria this weekend, using the latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series as a ‘tune up’ for the London Olympic Games.
Nicky Samuels, Kate McIlroy, Andrea Hewitt and Bevan Docherty will race in Kitzbuhel, along with Olympic reserves Debbie Tanner and Clark Ellice. They will be joined by non Olympic athletes Bryce McMaster, Tony Dodds and Simone Ackermann in the Austrian Alps.
For New Zealand’s top ranked athlete Andrea Hewitt, Austria signals her final serious hit out before London.
“I raced and placed fourth last Sunday in the Banyoles World Cup race, so these 5 days in between have been focused on resting my legs but of course this has included the travel from Spain back to France and then to Austria. Surprisingly though, I feel more ready for this weekend after training at a snail's pace all week.
“I am happy to be training well for London and racing at the highest level at the same time. This is my last race before the Olympic Games ahead of six weeks of final preparation.”
For Wanaka’s Nicky Samuels it is a further chance to test herself while in heavy training mode.
“I’m looking forward to racing in Kitzbuhel. I have had a really hard couple of weeks of training so will be good to have a bit of a lighter week this week and see what happens in the weekend.
“I will be using this weekend as a hard training event and general test of my fitness. I have a few more hard weeks of training planned post Kitzbuhel so I’m really excited about what I can gain in that time. The Olympics are getting closer so all events and training is still focused on August. I have been training at Font Romeu so it’s perfect timing to race in Kitzbuhel as it is at 800m altitude. I will return to Font Romeu for 2 more weeks of hard work post Kitzbuhel.”
Kate McIlroy races in Austria for the fourth time; it is one of the Wellingtonian’s favourite venues.
“I arrived in Sete the end of May to start my last training block towards the Olympics. I have slowly built into the training, giving my calf a chance to get back to 100% post Sydney.
“It has been a great uninterrupted 4 week block of training - great group to train with here in Sete as well as putting on some scorcher days! This weekend will be a good test to see how I am tracking and to get a quality race under my belt. This will be my fourth time racing Kitzbuhel, it is a strength based course which I enjoy and fits is well with this phase of my training. I am really looking forward to having a good race.”
Bevan Docherty has made the move from his USA base to Europe for this weekend as he too has an eye on the calendar with London in mind.
“Training has been going very well; my form seems to be coming on at the right time. I know there are a lot of the big hitters in this event, and it’s a great opportunity to gauge how things are coming along.
“It’s around 5 weeks until the men’s triathlon in London, a lot can happen over that time which can “make or break” your Olympic result.”
Tri NZ National Coach Greg Fraine says all of the athletes are tracking well towards London, with balance important this weekend.
“In Olympic year events such as this weekend are approached with a slightly different perspective. Athletes are still looking to secure good points towards the World Championship but the main focus is London and continuing to work towards peaking at the Games.
“Everyone is training well and on target, this weekend is about ticking a few boxes during the race to confirm their level of fitness and strength at this stage of the build up. While racing is vital for them all, it is important to maintain the right balance during the event this weekend, making decisions that are based as much on London as what might be unfolding in front of them in Kitzbuhel.”
Races will be covered on SKY Sport (check guides for details) or media should request the media login for the ITU website from the ITU to receive live streaming coverage (this coverage is otherwise not available in New Zealand).
Greg Fraine and the athletes will be available on teleconference post-race, details to follow.
ITU World Triathlon Series
1am Sunday 24th June NZT
Live on SKYSPORT 3
1am Monday 25th June NZT
Delayed coverage on SKYSPORT 1 from 2.30am