Mooloolaba pre-race Press Conference Highlights

Mooloolaba pre-race Press Conference Highlights

By Merryn Sherwood on 23/03/12 at 3:09 am

Three-time Mooloolaba champion Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS), two-time ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt (AUS), the No.1 Elite Women’s seed Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and her partner, and No.2 Elite Men’s seed, Laurent Vidal (FRA), and the 2009 Mooloolaba champion Courtney Atkinson (AUS) all faced the press on Friday, ahead of the opening ITU World Cup of the 2012 season in Australia this weekend.

Emma Moffatt
On the Mooloolaba course:
“I’ve had some good results here, but I always find it’s a very difficult course, you go up over that hill seven times on the bike and four times on the run, so it think it can be challenging, but it’s a good race.”

On her pre-selection for the London 2012 Olympics:
“Yes it’s nice to have the weight off the shoulders knowing I’m already going to London but regardless of that I still want to have a good year and have good races in every race I enter. London is important, but so is everything else.”

Andrea Hewitt
On wearing the No.1 for the first time in Australia:
“It’s the first time it’s happened when I’ve come to Australia, so it is pressure but it means I’m in good shape and that everything is going well.  So I came here in 2006 in my first World Cup, and the last time I was here was in 2008 and I was in a different position because it was Olympic qualifiers for us for Beijing. This year I’ve already qualified, so it’s a lot easier, and I don’t think there is as much pressure. I had my best season last year, finishing second in the world behind Helen Jenkins and she’s not here today so I’ve got the No.1. I’m building up, I’m coached by Laurent, and each year my training has got better and better, this year it’s been really good, so hopefully that shows this season.”

On the weather conditions in Mooloolaba:
“I haven’t had a lot of heat training over in New Zealand recently, but I do like it hot, my last race in the world champs series was hot, in Yokohama, and it was a good race, so I hope it’s hot on Sunday.”

Brad Kahlefeldt
On going for his third straight Mooloolaba World Cup win:
“It would be nice to get three in a row obviously, my fourth win, but all these guys here are very strong athletes and I’ll just be very happy to win and I’ll think about that later on after the race. But no I’m not that focused on getting that hat-trick, I’m just focused on myself performing well and that everything is on track.”

On why he has done well in Mooloolaba:
“I certainly enjoy the course, and I certainly change my training accordingly for this course. It’s a course you have to respect. I certainly didn’t respect it as a junior, I came through and absoutely got beaten, I didn’t finish a couple of years in a row, I didn’t respect it and maybe went too hard in the run and now it’s a little bit more patience and training properly for this course. Do the hillwork, and time in the gym and it certainly helps on this course. If you look at the course it’s just continually up and down the whole way, it’s not too much flat. So it makes it quite exciting and a new challenge for us athletes. It’s a nice course.”

Laurent Vidal
On his preparation so far for London, compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympics:
“We had some chance to qualify last year for the French team and it was to achieve a top eight in the London event in the world series event, and that’s what we did, David (Hauss) and I, and it’s really great to have one year to prepare for the London Games. In that way it’s kind of different to what I experienced in 2008, it’s a different build up.  You have time to get ready and go through all the steps of the Olympic preparation, racing in Mooloolaba will be a good indicator of where my form is at.”

On whether the men’s field can catch Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee:
“That thing is true, they have dominated the last 16 months, well Alistair, Jonny was second. But what I learnt in the last few years is that you can’t really control the performance of others, you can only control yours, so this is what you have to stay focused on. Sometimes from outside it doesn’t really seem like this, but everything comes down to one race after pretty much four years of preparation so whatever happened before, it’s just an indication. For sure, what the Brownlees did last year was a strong indication for all of us, if you don’t step it up, then you pretty much have not much chance on the day on the Olympics. But at the end of the season the gap was really short, it was maybe 10 seconds on the Beijing Grand Final. So I think a lot of other athletes have stepped it up to almost their level.”

Courtney Atkinson
On his chances this weekend:
“It will absolutely be a battle for me this weekend, in saying that I’m here to race and I’ll race as hard as I can, there is other important factors with Olympic points on the line, so I’m here to race. But like I said, realistically, it’s the best quality field we’ve had – and I think you guys would agree – as a World Cup event, it’s the best qualify field we’ve had, maybe ever, the international depth is exceptional. From my point of view, I don’t have the form to be matching these guys at the moment.  But like I said, I’m confident with where I’m at, I’ve been in this situation before at this time of the year, and the guys alluded to it – what you are doing now can actually be detrimental to what you need to do in London. It’s for other people to make decisions but for me I’m comfortable with where I’m at. My training has gone really well through summer, and tomorrow is getting out there racing, hopefully pick up some points, and move on and hit my straps when it counts.”

Find more details about this event - 2012 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup

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