Australia’s leading male triathlete Aaron Royle is developing his own career path as he rubs shoulders with arguably some of the sport’s all-time greats.
The 24-year-old is one of sixÂ Australians who will line up inÂ Saturday’sÂ Elite Men’s race in round three of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Yokohama and he is determined to continue doing it his way.
Royle is sitting third on the ITU Rankings behind Spain’s Javier Gomez and Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee after the first two races, but Royle isn’t getting carried away.
â€œTo be honest if I was to finish third in the Series at the end of the year I’d be happy, but right now I am just looking at each race as it comes,â€ says Royle
â€œIt really is a long year until the WTS Grand Final in Edmonton so I can’t get too far ahead of myself.â€
Already Gomez and Brownlee have cleared out from the pack with injured 2012 Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee waiting in the wings.
Royle finished third in Auckland and sixth in Capetown behind the duelling Gomez and Brownlee but he is also far from intimidated, although Brownlee was quick to praise Royle after the way he raced in Capetown.
â€œI race the way I need to, to be able to perform. Sometimes that coincides with the way they want to race as well,â€ says the Newcastle-born Wollongong Wizard.
â€œThere’s been times when they have praised me and there’s been times when they have criticised the way I raced. I’ll continue to race the way I need to, so I can continue to improve.â€
Royle also admits he has learnt a lot about himself this year.
â€œIt maybe a bit clichÃ© but you are always learning and this year has been no different,â€ says Royle.
â€œI had a few hiccups early in the year with injuries and so we are always looking at better ways to manage our bodies in the early months and recovery is very important.
â€œOur coach Jamie TurnerÂ does a good job making sure we are given sufficient recovery before we step into any quality training.
â€œWith the amount of races and travel that we’ve had and still have in the next few weeks makes recovery so important.â€
The men’s race will see Royle joined by fellow Commonwealth Games representatives Dan Wilson and Ryan Bailie with fellow Australians Declan Wilson, Cameron Good and Ryan Fisher, giving the Aussies a strong presence among the 60 plus international field.
Wilson and Bailie joined Royle in an eye-catching final 5km in Auckland with the Australians finishing third (Royle), fourth (Wilson) and fifth (Bailie).
It was a red-letter day for the Australians, who will be out in force again, flying a men’s flag that is starting to mix it with the world’s best.
And what has Royle learnt about Gomez and Brownlee this year?
â€œThat they are consistentâ€¦..they are strong both physically and mentally and (they) love to win!â€