With the ‘Pro’ element of the 2018 edition of Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand switching to the half distance, an already strong field – which will also include Great Britain’s Joe Skipper in the men’s race – has been boosted by the addition of the two-time and reigning IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion, Javier Gomez, to the 17 February event.
With Alistair Brownlee’s strong start to 2018 on Friday at IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai, will his long-time rival manage the same in just under two weeks time?
Here is the official word on Javier’s entry from the organising team.
Multiple world champion, Javier Gomez (ESP), has announced his plans to race Challenge Wanaka on 17 February 2018.
The Spanish athlete is one of triathlon’s superstars with five ITU World Championships, three ITU World Cup titles, an Olympic silver medal, two 70.3 World Championships and an XTERRA World Championship to his name.
Gomez knows Wanaka well, having trained in the lakeside town in New Zealand’s South Island in 2014 and is looking forward to returning.
“I spent time in Wanaka back in 2014 and I fell in love with the place. An amazing lake to swim, good roads with breathtaking views to ride and epic trails to run… Being in NZ at the moment, I just want to be part of the event and enjoy one of the most beautiful triathlons in the world.”
Challenge Wanaka race director, Bill Roxburgh, said having an athlete of Gomez’s calibre was a huge buzz for athletes and spectators alike.
“Triathlon is one of the few sports where amateurs can compete side by side with the sport’s superstars and for age-groupers to see Gomez out on the course with them will be huge. Similarly, for spectators and supporters to be able to watch one of the world’s best in action is an absolute privilege,” he said. “It’s also a fantastic opportunity for our homegrown athletes to test themselves against the best in the world.”
In 2018, Challenge Wanaka hosts two New Zealand National Championships. Challenge Wanaka Half is the Long Distance National Championships and the new Aquabike event is also a National Championships event, with eligible competitors able to qualify for a spot in both events at the ITU World Championships in Denmark in July.
Challenge Wanaka is New Zealand’s largest triathlon festival with over 2,500 participants of all ages and abilities from around the world. Internationally recognised as the “World’s Most Scenic Triathlon” it features both half (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run) and full (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) distance events for individuals and teams plus the Aquabike (3km swim, 120km bike). In addition, over 900 youngsters aged between five and 11 compete in the Puzzling World Junior Challenge Wanaka on Friday 16 February. The new Mitre 10 Secondary Schools event on Thursday 15 February, also doubles as the Otago Secondary School Triathlon Championships.
Challenge Wanaka takes place on Saturday 17 February 2018. For further information and entries, visit www.challenge-wanaka.com.