Hamburg will host the ITU World Triathlon Series this weekend, and the Australian women are ready for battle. Triathlon Australia’s Ian Hanson shares with us the Australian women’s preview below.
Olympians Emma Moffatt and Emma Jackson will headline a team of 11 Australians who will converge on Hamburg this weekend for the next round of the ITU World Triathlon Series.
Hamburg, so often a happy hunting ground for Australian triathletes and after the success of last year will once again be fought out over the Sprint format – 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run – on Saturday with the 2013 Mixed Relay World Championship to be decided on Sunday.
It will also be one of the final opportunities for athletes to catch the selectors eyes before they sit down to name the Elite and Under 23 teams for this year’s ITU World Championship Grand Final in London in September.
A top eight finish in London will ensure automatic selection for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for the top placed Australian male and female.
Saturday’s first race will be for the Elite women (set down for 11.50pm Saturday night AEST; LIVE on Fox Sports 3) with Australia to be represented by duel Olympian and 2008 bronze medallist Moffatt (currently ranked sixth on the ITU rankings); Ashleigh Gentle (10th), Charlotte McShane (19th), London Olympian, Jackson (27th) and Natalie Van Coevorden (eq 30th).
Australia’s second highest ranked female Felicity Abram (8th) will miss Hamburg after suffering a stomach bug which caused her concerns in the last round in Kitzbuehel.
Moffatt said she is still settling into her new training regime under coach Darren Smith in France alongside the two top ranked women in the world, Madrid winner Anne Haug (GER) and Kitzbuehel winner Jodie Stimpson (GBR) but is hopeful a return to one of her happiest hunting grounds will be a good omen.
“I love racing in Hamburg and have had some good results there in the past, so I’d like to keep a good track record,” said Moffatt, who won there in 2009 and in the famous Emma trifecta with Snowsill and Jackson in 2011.
“Training has been going well, it’s been six weeks now training with Darren (Smith), so I’m still getting use to the change in program but I’m enjoying the challenges.”
Former World Junior champion, Gentle, admitted the travel and racing in and around Kitzbuehel took it’s toll and she was forced to take several days off to recover; but she says she is ready for Hamburg.
“I would love to have a solid swim so I can be in the mix from the start,” said Gentle. “The bike course in Hamburg is very much to my liking; it’s fast and flat and with quite a few corners each lap. “Playing catch up is not ideal though if I want the opportunity to try and run with the best. I know the pace is going to be super quick. “Hamburg is where it all started for me as a junior, so its personally rather special coming back.
“I would love to move up in the rankings and I always want to race well. In saying that, London still remains the main focus.”
Emerging star, McShane will come into Hamburg fresh from her victory in last weekend’s British Sprint Championship win in Liverpool and she is determined to maintain her consistency.
“I wasn’t completely satisfied with my swim in my last ITU race in Madrid. You can’t afford to have an off day at WTS level and expect to be with the front girls so swimming consistency has been a big focus with coach Jamie Turner.
“Every girl ranked higher than me is racing this weekend. It will be a perfect indicator of my form as I lead into the final leg of the year.”
Her training partner van Coevorden is also looking to be in touch after the swim.
“My aim is to have a solid swim too so I am up with the front girls from the start and to stay with the group on the bike and finish with a run I am happy with,” said van Coevorden, who is only just full recovered from the rib injury suffered in a training accident.
“If I beat my start number (27) I have already done better than last year.”
We wish the Australian girls the best of luck and look forward to watching the action live here.