Saturday’s 2018 Oceania Sprint Triathlon Championships in Devonport will feature an Olympian keen to get back on his bike, the hill-climbing Commonwealth Games debutant and a host of youngsters determined to keep the stars honest over the telling, wind-swept sprint course.
In what will be a huge day’s racing with the cream of Australia’s paratriathlon squad will also line up in Australia’s first ever Paratriathlon World Cup – featuring four Rio Paralympians and Commonwealth Games nominees.
The Olympian, Ryan Bailie, 10th in Rio in 2016, will be looking to get back into the racing groove after the disappointment of missing a place on the hotly contested Australian team for this year’s Commonwealth Games – following a disrupted 2017.
The 27-year-old, who had issues with his calves over the past 12 months has been managing his workload through the carefully monitored training cycles to ensure he gives himself every chance to get back to his best form in this year’s World Triathlon Series.
Bailie, under the watchful eye of Triathlon Australia coach Jamie Turner, will race Devonport before the Mooloolaba World Cup (March 10), the Mixed Teams Relay Championships at Runaway Bay (March 16, 17), the New Plymouth World Cup (March 25) and the WTS in Bermuda (April 28).
“It is great to get to race in Devonport again – it’s been a few years but I’m keen to give it a red hot go,” said Bailie.
“I finished second to Pete Kerr back in 2013 but one thing I really enjoy is supporting the local Australian races as we start our international preparation.
“There will be several younger guys lining up including one of my training partners in Callum McClusky.
“I have really enjoyed working with Callum and Declan Wilson, who has also joined our Wollongong Wizards group under Jamie Turner.”
A group of youngsters including in-form Queenslanders Brandon Copeland, Dan Coleman and Kye Wylde will be joined by WA’s Liam McCoach, Victorian Jack Van Stekelenburg and rising NSW junior Lorcan Redmond from Newcastle.
Commonwealth Games bound Charlotte McShane, 27, started her 2018 campaign when she finished second to prolific Kiwi Olympian Andrea Hewitt in Glenelg a fortnight ago and she will face a host of familiar faces with Tamsyn Moana-Veale, Natalie Van Coevorden, Grace Musgrove and Emma Jeffcoat certain to throw out their challenges.
“I actually surprised myself in Glenelg, I was fitter than I thought and I’ll continue to work on some specific race things again in Devonport and hopefully improve and go a little bit better,” said McShane.
“It was a shock to the system that’s for sure but it’s all part of the plan to arrive onto the Gold Coast in the first week of April in the best shape of my life.
“I’ve raced Devonport three times before, the last time in 2014 – and it is definitely a course I enjoy with the hill climb is definitely my favourite part of it.”
Jeffcoat tasted success in Devonport last year, dominating every facet of the race, from her favourite surf race opening leg to the tough hill climb and the final run leg – leading from the outset in a brilliant solo performance.
Devonport will also host the first of seven Paratriathlon World Cups in another major coup for Triathlon Australia and the Devonport Triathlon.
It will feature Rio Paralympic golden girl Katie Kelly (with guide Briarna Silk) and 2016 teammates Bill Chaffey, Nic Beveridge and Brant Garvey as well as two-time ITU World Champion Sally Pilbeam and 2017 ITU World Champion Emily Tapp.
PT Wheelchair pair, five-time ITU world champion Chaffey and Tapp have already earned early nominations for the Commonwealth Games with the full team to be announced for the sport’s Games debut on the Gold Coast on February 25.
Chaffey will be joined in what will be an all-star field by Beveridge (Queensland), fourth in last year’s World Championships as well as SA’s consistent performer Scott Crowley and Victoria’s paratriathlon’s relative new comer Alex Welsh and inform German international Benjamin Lenatz.
WA’s Pilbeam, silver medallist in last year’s World Championships in Rotterdam is the current world number one in the TPS4 and is again preparing for another head-to-head battle with SA’s Kerryn Harvey.
Albury’s World Cross Tri champion, Justin Godfrey, one of para-sports most versatile champions, will line up in the PTS3 for leg amputees.
Godfrey remains one of Australia’s most consistent paratriathletes after his silver medal in the ITU World Championships in Rotterdam.
The international stars will also include Japan’s PTWC’s Wakako Tsuchida a Summer and Winter Paralympian, multi Paralympics gold medallist and 5x winner of the Boston Marathon who will provide strong opposition to the Australians Emily Tapp, Sara Tait and Lauren Parker.
Australia’s World Championships PT Vision Impaired representatives, Jonathan Goerlach and Gerrard Gosens will benefit from the challenge of racing Italian champion Maurizio Romeo and the other internationals Ryu Nakazawa (JAP) and Kin Wa Chu (Hong Kong).
TIMETABLE – Saturday February 17, 2018
7.30am: Race start – Elite Women
9am: Race start – Elite Men
1pm: Race start Paratriathlon World Cup