Climbing the hills around West Dapto on his bike and simulated altitude training were just two of the key factors that paved the way for Newcastle-born triathlete Aaron Royle to be crowned Australia’s latest World Triathlon Champion in Auckland today.
The 22-year-old timed his run to perfection over the final 100 metres after five athletes ran shoulder to shoulder over the final 2.5 kilometres in and around the gruelling Auckland Harbour amphitheatre.
A course that included three brutal hills that sorted the men out from the Under 23 boys.
Royle, with his coach Jamie Turner and mother Kim and father Ken cheering him on, pushed the go button to clear out over the final stages to beat Spain’s Fernando Alarza and Great Britain’s Thomas Bishop.
It was an encouraging day all round for the next generation of Australia’s emerging men with Australian Head Coach Shaun Stephens belief in his boys coming to fruition.
Australia has developed an exciting group of emerging Under 23s who along with Royle will represent the future of men’s triathlon in Australia.
The green and gold Scody suits were well and truly to the fore right from the outset in yesterday’s race with Brisbane boys Fisher and Amberger covering Royle’s every move and Bailie, who worked hard in a solo effort off the bike, never far away.
Fisher, who only dropped off the pace just after the bell lap on the 10km run, hung deep to finish fifth with Royle’s training partner Bailie storming home to claim 10th just ahead of Amberger in 11th.
Although the Australian boys worked together as a team, the day belonged to Royle and that perfect finish.
“That was always my plan, I knew I had a good kick, I was just hoping that none of the other guys had the same plan,” said the former National Age swimming star, who started triathlon after also excelling in cross country running.
“We put a lot of planning into this race. A lot of race preparation and simulation with the boys. Jamie mapped out a course around the hills of West Dapto and we also worked in the NSWIS altitude training assimilation tent.
“Last year in Beijing at the World Championships I thought I was ready but I wasn’t. Coming into this race I believed I could win and my dream came true.
“I’ve still got another year in the Under 23s next year and I’ll have to decide whether or not I stay in the age group or progress to the Elites “we’ll have to wait and see.”
Asked whether he saw himself as the future of the sport in Australia, Royle was quick to put his hand up.
“Yes I do see myself as the future. There have been plenty of other under 23 World Champions who have gone to bigger and better things and there is no reason why I can’t,” said Royle.
“I have dabbled in the elite races this season and I’m slowly feeling that’s where I belong.
“I have had a dream of going to the Olympics in Rio since I was eight years of age when I was a swimmer and over the next four years I’m going to work as hard as I can to get there.”
Royle left his home in Newcastle five year’s ago to link up with respected NSWIS coach Jamie Turner in Wollongong and the move has certainly paid dividends.