By Nicola Hargreaves on 10/02/12 at 12:34 am
An impressive line-up that includes a host of past Olympians, World Series and World Cup winners will be seen at the 2012 Geelong ITU Sprint Triathlon Premium Oceania Cup in what will be a season opener for most.
Double ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt headlines the women’s field and will be hoping to use the home soil advantage for a good kick off to the season after working hard to reclaim her form in 2011 which led to a runner-up finish in Yokohama.
Great Britain’s Liz Blatchford, who finished ahead of Moffatt at the Beijing Grand Final last year will also be in contention. Blatchford and teammate in the men’s race, William Clarke are currently training in Australia until the ITU World Triathlon Series event in Sydney in April.
“Training in Australia has been good and I’m looking forward to testing my form this weekend in the Geelong sprint event. I will use it to help me to find some speed and get race ready for the bigger races of the season. I’ll be racing the Mooloolaba World Cup followed by Sydney, San Diego and Madrid WTS in my effort to gain Olympic Selection,” said Blatchford.
Also in the women’s race and no strangers on the world circuit are Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle, who broke through for her first world cup title in Edmonton last year, and Erin Densham who will both fight for a place on a podium.
The field will miss Andrea Hewitt who was forced to pull out due to illness.
However, Hewitt’s partner and coach Laurent Vidal will line up wearing number one in the elite men’s start list. The Frenchman who has already earned a spot on his Olympic team, will be aiming for the podium after just missing out at his final race last season at the 2011 Auckland ITU Triathlon World Cup, finishing fourth.
Also beginning the race year in Geelong is Clarke whose best result of 2011 was a silver medal in Hamburg. Australians Brendan Sexton and 7-time World Cup winner Courtney Atkinson may also prove to be a threat on home soil. The Aussies will have extra motivation with national glory on the line as the event also doubles as the Australian Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships.
Clarke commented: “I’m really excited to get out there amongst it for the first race of my 2012 season. I’ve been training really hard out in Australia and want to blow away the cobwebs with a good hard race. I’m in decent shape but you never know with the first race of the season, the Australians are always strong at this time of year, so it’s just a ‘see how it goes race’.”
Having already tested the race waters of 2012, Aaron Royle and Chris McCormack head into their second outing of the new season. Royle bagged the win at the 2012 Kinloch ITU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup last weekend while McCormack came home in sixth.
The race will comprise of a deep water start of a 750m one lap swim, five lap 20km bike course and three lap 5km run.
The elite women will begin the racing on 12 February at 13:45 followed by the elite men at 15:00. Check back on triathlon.org for full results.
Find more details about this event - 2012 Geelong ITU Sprint Triathlon Premium Oceania Cup