In the lead up to this weekend’s ITU Dextro Energy Triathlon World Championship round in Hamburg, Australia’s National Head Coach Shaun Stephens, runs the microscope over the Australian team’s preparations as they continue their march towards the all-important London round on August 6 and 7.
The men’s race will start at 10pm (AEST) on Saturday night with the women starting at 11.20pm (AEST) on Sunday night (see below for more details, courtesy of the ITU).
The majority of the Australian athletes are in Aix Le Bain in France while the VIS group is in northern Spain under coach Jonno Hall, and Olympic champion Emma Snowsill continues her preparations in Germany.
The Australians showed they are running into form with solid results at the ITU Edmonton World Cup and the French Grand Prix in Paris last weekend.
Here Stephens and Hall give their appraisals of where the Australians are positioned.
â€œLast weekend’s solid results (particularly in Edmonton and Paris) provided a good boost to the athletes, who performed well, as it confirmed their preparations for Hamburg and London were on track.,â€ said Stephens.
â€œThe disappointment was the injury suffered to Jamie Huggett (who fell in the Paris race) and who was starting to show some good form as a young under 23 athlete and was looking forward to racing in Hamburg and London.
â€œUnfortunately, Jamie has a fracture in his humeral tuberosity (upper arm) and has returned home for further investigation.
â€œHe is obviously very disappointed but is keen to work through his rehabilitation and return to training and racing as soon as possible.
â€œHamburg WCS marks the first important race for Australian Olympic selection in terms of selectors looking at athletes capable of performing in London in 2012.
â€œAll our athletes have geared their training and competition plans around performing over the next two-month period with Hamburg WCS, London WCS and the Grand Final in Beijing in September being priority events.
Here is Stephens break down of how the Australian athletes are preparing:
Brad Kahlefeldt: Brad has trained consistently well since the Kitzbuhel round of the WCS and will certainly be looking to improve upon a solid fifth place finish in Kitzbuhel. Brad loves competing in Hamburg and is a tough competitor. He was fatigued going into the French GP last weekend in Paris but had a solid hit-out and will be a lot fresher this weekend.
Brendan Sexton: Brendan also raced solidly last weekend in Paris after a quality training block and he is looking forward to getting back to WCS racing after skipping Kitzbuhel due to a virus.
Dan Wilson: Hamburg will be Dan’s first important race since October last year after crashing on his bike in December. He is still lacking quality run fitness and will find the intensity of racing difficult but is always a tough racer and will leave nothing left on the track on Saturday.
Chris McCormack: After a disappointing showing in Kitzbuhel, Chris has been training well in the Australian Team camp with the younger athletes. He has significantly increased his swimming load, has been diligently working with a swim coach in Aix Le Bain and is surprising everyone with his running ability. He has a hunger for competition and I look forward to seeing what he is capable of after a few weeks of quality preparation.
Emma Snowsill: Snowy has continued to train well at her training base in Germany. Post Kitzbuhel WCS, I took Emma Moffatt to train with her for 10 days and both girls benefited both physically and mentally from training together. I am convinced Snowy is in excellent condition and it won’t be long before we see her at her best again.
Emma Moffatt: Moffy has trained extremely well and is showing good form in both training and racing. Her fourth place in Kitzbuhel was a positive sign that she was in great condition four weeks ago and will definitely be looking to improve upon that in Hamburg this weekend after a very good training block.
Erin Densham: Erin’s eighth place finish in Kitzbuhel after a turbulent few years was very encouraging and given that she is an outstanding runner, will also be looking at improving upon that result in Hamburg.
Felicity Abram: After succumbing to a virus in April, Felicity missed numerous weeks of quality training but has since had a few weeks back at near full training load and shows no signs of residual illness or fatigue. Felicity will definitely improve upon a disappointing result in Kitzbuhel and will be even sharper for London in another three weeks time.
Emma Jackson: The U23 World Champion showed she could mix it with the best of the senior athletes over the sprint distance last weekend in Paris, matching it with Emma Moffatt until the final sprint finish to claim second at the French GP race. She has put herself in terrific physical condition and will be a real threat for a top performance this weekend.
Jonno Hall also provides this additional update on his top two athletes Erin Densham and Brendan Sexton, who have been based in Vitoria-Gasteiz in Northern Spain.
â€œErin and Brendan have both been travelling well in training here in Spain, hitting the majority of the benchmarks we have set and in some instances surpassing those marks,â€ said Hall.
â€œOur focus is really on the period from London to Yokohama with Lausanne and Beijing included, but both athletes are ready to compete strongly in Hamburg as well without necessarily having prepared to win Hamburg.
â€œOur main objectives of the year are from August onwards and everything I am seeing in training suggests that we are on the right track.
â€œErin had nearly four months away from running at the end of last year and whilst we have been able to gradually increase the work since this time I think we will still only be 80 percent of the way there by the time London comes around this year.
â€œWe just need to make sure that this is still good enough to be in the game on race day which I think it will be.
â€œOne of the tricks as an athlete and coach in getting everything right for the big race not the big races around the big race.â€
About the race: Hamburg has hosted a World Cup event since 2002, and the ITU World Championships in 2007, before coming on board as in the first year of the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series in 2009. The entire centre of the city shuts down for triathlon weekend as 10,000 age-group athletes race on the same venue as the elites, diving into the River Alster before biking and running through the heart of the city. Hamburg is always an athlete and fan favourite, as crowds turn out in thousands to create an amazing atmosphere. It’s the second largest city in Germany, behind Berlin, with a population of 1.8-million.
Elite Men – Saturday, July 16 – 2:00 pm (UTC/GMT +2) Click here for time in your area
Elite Women – Sunday, July 17 – 3:20 pm (UTC/GMT +2) Click here for time in your area
Live video coverage from Hamburg will be available on race day at triathlonlive.tv
Or follow @triathlonlive on Twitter for text updates on race day.
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
$150,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5km swim from a pontoon start into an artificial lake within the city limits of Hamburg.
Bike – Eight-lap, 40km mostly, flat technical bike course that includes eight sharp turns in downtown Hamburg. Generally flat profile with no noteworthy climbs.
Run – Four-lap, 10km run on a flat course, with two 180 degree turns per lap.
Australian Sports Commission: Triathlon Australia is proudly supported by the Australian Sports Commission, the Government body that develops supports and invests in sport at all levels in Australia