With less than two weeks until the Commonwealth Games, several athletes heading to Gold Coast will be taking a final opportunity to test their racing form on Sunday at the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup in New Zealand.
None of the British athletes racing in two weeks time are in New Zealand (Kate Waugh and Oliver Turner are listed), but there are still plenty of recognisable international names present.
Here is the event preview courtesy of the ITU Media team.
For the eighth time in ITU history, the elites head to the iconic coastal city on the North Island of New Zealand for the 2018 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup. The Kiwi city will host the third stop on the World Cup circuit. Both the women’s and men’s start lists are stacked with experience slated to compete in the hopes of joining the New Plymouth record books.
The 2018 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup is a sprint distance triathlon covering a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. The event will be held at Ngamotu Beach and the surrounding scenic roads of Taranaki.
In the women’s field, it’s a world class hustle with Olympians and Commonwealth Games representatives lining up to take on the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup.
Wearing number one in New Plymouth will be American Kirsten Kasper, who is showing remarkable early season form with a fourth place finish in WTS Abu Dhabi and claiming silver on the Mooloolaba World Cup podium two weeks ago.
The American triathlete will be hotly contested by New Zealanders Andrea Hewitt and Nicole Van der Kay, both contesting to make an impact in front of a home crowd.
Hewitt, Olympian and world renowned triathlete, claimed eighth position in Abu Dhabi and will be ready to fire on Sunday, ahead of next month’s Commonwealth Games in Queensland, Australia. While Van der Kay, who finished with a strong fourth place in Mooloolaba earlier in March, will be looking to move through and step on the podium.
Australia’s Emma Jeffcoat, newly crowned with her first World Cup title in Mooloolaba, will be one to watch alongside fellow Aussie and Abu Dhabi’s bronze medallist Natalie Van Coevorden.
Another triathlete with Commonwealth Games in front of her is Australian representative Gillian Backhouse who will, without doubt, launch a fast and furious sprint before the Games.
Canada’s Amelie Kretz had a solid start to her race season in the Mooloolaba World Cup and is looking forward to building on her performance in the mix of Sunday’s race. Kretz claims New Zealand as one of her favourite race destinations.
“I’m excited about the race, the new course will make it really challenging and fun! Mooloolaba was my first race of the year so I’m looking forward to building on that. New Zealand is one of my favourite place in the world so I’m super happy to be here again this year racing,” said Kretz.
Sunday’s race will see another one of the world’s greatest triathletes perform, Hall of Fame inductee and Olympian Vanessa Fernandes (POR), who executed a strong race in Mooloolaba together with gutsy determination, will be looking to do the same across the Tasman in New Plymouth.
The men’s field is stacked with emerging talent and sprint specialists vying for a spot on the 2018 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup podium.
Australia’s Luke Willian will be looking to blaze up the field, in New Plymouth, prior to next month’s Commonwealth Games race goal. It’s set to be a battle with New Zealand’s Sam Ward sprinting on home ground. With a powerful swim and bike combination Ward will be looking for early domination. “I am really excited to race in front of a home crowd and in front of family,” said Ward.
Ward produced a strong fourth finish in the challenging Mooloolaba World Cup and is confident with his race form leading into Sunday. “The body is in good shape and I will be out there to mix things up at the front of the race,” Ward added.
Matthew McElroy from USA, a swim and run specialist, who came away with a wrenching bronze finish in Mooloolaba, will be fixed on securing another World Cup podium place.
Another elite male attacking a final hit out ahead of April’s Commonwealth Games is Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk who will be focused on sharpening race technique to break away early.
Also lining up on Sunday are Aussie sprint specialists Brandon Copeland and Daniel Coleman, who will prove threats in the men’s field and will set the pace from the start.
Canada’s Matthew Sharpe, renowned for his prevailing swim stroke, will have a race plan to lay it down early and make an impact on the field.