The best triathletes in the world will race tomorrow (NZT) at the Yokohama round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in a last ditch attempt to earn points before the season ending Barfoot & Thompson World Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland over Labour Weekend.
Andrea Hewitt and Kate McIlroy line up in the women’s race in a strong field while Kris Gemmell is the sole Kiwi in the men’s race as the Palmerston North triathlete looks to improve on his current ranking of 16 in the world.
Andrea Hewitt returns to ITU racing after a small break post the London Olympics looking to consolidate her current second ranking and head to Auckland in the mix for the overall title of World Champion. The New Zealand number one has a good record in the Japanese city, winning in 2011 and finishing runner up in 2009.
Current women’s series leader Erin Densham (Australia) will start, as does current 4th ranked Lisa Norden (Sweden), both have enjoyed stellar seasons capped by medals in London, behind the Swiss star Nicola Spirig (not racing for the rest of the season post London).
10th ranked Kate McIlroy is the only other Kiwi woman on the start line and she too has fond memories of Yokohama.
“This is my second time in Yokohama after finishing on the podium last year. I returned home from Europe 3 weeks ago, pleased to be back training on my usual stomping ground with home comforts! Barfoot & Thompson Auckland World Champs is the main focus over this next block but I am keen to have a good result this weekend.
“The conditions here last year were very hot and humid making the run incredibly tough. Hopefully, it will be a good sharpener and confidence booster leading into the last race of the season in 3 weeks time.”
Triathlon New Zealand National Coach Greg Fraine is in Yokohama, but admits he and the athletes are already casting an eye to Auckland on Labour Weekend.
“Andrea, Kate and Kris are all pushing for a share of the points and a top world ranking come 20th and 21st October in Auckland when the series placing will be decided at the Barfoot & Thompson Grand Final.
“All three athletes have had a podium here in Yokohama and race well in the normally hot race conditioned experienced in Yokohama the last few years. The race will also provide a competitive hit out in preparation for Auckland, an event all of the Kiwi’s want to perform at being in front of their home crowd on a great course.”
ITU World Triathlon Series
Saturday 29th September
Elite Women: 11.05am NZT
Elite Men: 2pm NZT
Both races will be covered live on SKYSPORT 3 on Saturday, check guides for details.
Current World Rankings Click Here
Yokohama ITU Preview Click Here
A release will be distributed Saturday afternoon, including news reel details and free to use editorial images. For further information, register at the media centre on www.triathlon.org