Paratriathletes to get ITU World Championships underway on Friday

Chief Correspondent

ITU Paratriathlon World Championships kicks of Rotterdam Grand Final

It’s 2017 ITU Grand Final weekend coming up, and we’ve already previewed the men’s and women’s Senior Elite races – courtesy of Blair Cartmell – HERE.

Those races will take place on Saturday, but first up on the schedule will be the Elite Paratriathlon World Championships on Friday morning.

Here is an event preview looking ahead to that one courtesy of British Triathlon.

The elite paratriathlon race will get the ITU World Championships underway in Rotterdam on Friday at 9am. Tough conditions are expected with wind and rain on a testing technical course, but the Great Britain team, which includes Paralympic Champion, Andy Lewis, is ready to meet the challenge.

Paratriathletes will have a slight advantage over the rest of the elite athletes in Rotterdam in that this is the second year in a row that the world championships have taking place here. Lewis was a gold medal winner last year, and already knows the tight corners and sections of cobbles. However, he’s had to overcome a high-speed cycling crash, which took place on a training ride earlier in June.

Lewis, who racing in the PTS2 category having lost a leg in motorcycling accident when he was 16, said: “I’m really looking forward to just getting back amongst it.”

He added: “There’s a top field of athletes taking part, and after my injuries I’m just looking forward to being back on the circuit. The pressure is still there, has been since last year, but I just want to go back and enjoy racing”.

Lauren Steadman (PTS5) and Melissa Reid (PTVI), who also won Paralympic medals in Rio a year ago, are set to race in Rotterdam. Steadman crashed in Rotterdam last year en route to winning silver in Rio. Reid, who will be guided by Hazel McLeod, won bronze last year, and bronze in Rio. Alison Patrick, the Rio silver medallist in the same category as Reid has withdrawn with a back injury.

The team also includes Jade Jones (PTWC) and Claire Cashmore (PTS5), who have transferred from athletics and swimming respectively to make their Paratriathlon world championship debuts.

Jones said: “This will be my first World Championships for triathlon, so I’m excited to compete on a world stage. My training has been going well in the run up and I learnt a lot in Yokohama and at the Europeans, which I’ll be looking to put into practice!”

Head Coach, Jonathon Riall, is looking forward to seeing how the Great Britain team can perform on Friday morning. He said: “From racing the world championships here last year, we know the course is twisty and technical.”

He added: “We have a mix of experienced and new athletes in the team, and we’re looking for them to race confidently in the knowledge that they’ve prepared for these conditions, including the bad weather.”

The paratriathlon takes place from 9am Friday 15 September (local time, Rotterdam is one hour ahead of the UK). Live updates will be available via @Brittri on Twitter.

Great Britain Paratriathlon team; 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run:

PTWC: Joe Townsend, Jade Jones
PTS2: Andy Lewis, Fran Brown
PTS3: Ryan Taylor
PTS4: Steve Crowley
PTS5: George Peasgood, Lauren Steadman, Claire Cashmore
PTVI: Dave Ellis (Carl Shaw Guide), Melissa Reid (Hazel McLeod Guide)

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