Australia’s Commonwealth Games representative Dan Wilson will be hoping to put Yokohama very much behind him when he joins Glasgow team mates Aaron Royle and Ryan Bailie in London for the ITU World Triathlon Series round on Saturday.
Wilson admits the last round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Japan was one he would rather forget.
He will be one of eight Australians in London for a return to the Hyde Park venue, which hosted the Olympics in 2012 and last year’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Wilson, Royle and Bailie will be joined by fellow Australians Declan Wilson, Cameron Good and Ryan Fisher in the Elite Men’s field while Olympian and Glasgow-bound Emma Jackson and ITU under 23 champion Charlotte McShane will again fly the flag in the women’s field for a sprint race format over the 750m swim; 20km bike and five km run distances.
Saturday will also see a small but select field of Australians at the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Pontevedra, Spain with extraordinary Deaf Olympian Melinda Vernon (Elite Women); ITU World Cup Triathlon winner from Chengdu Gillian Backhouse (Under 23 women); Matt Brown (Under 23 men) and Tasmania’s rising star Jake Birtwhistle (Junior Men) making up the Australian contingent. A strong 34 Age Group athletes will also take the line at these Championships
ITU MEN’S LONDON PREVIEW
Start Time – Saturday 2.30 pm (London); Saturday 11.30pm (AEST)
Brisbane’s France-based Dan Wilson is confident he can regain the kind of form that saw him produce a stirring fourth place finish in Auckland when the world’s elite men – including Spain’s two-time ITU World champion and a man unbeaten on the WTS this season Javier Gomez who heads the who’s who into the 2012 Olympic city.
“It wasn't a particularly fun day, that’s for sure, I guess it was a mixture of average form and just (bad) luck,” said a forthright Wilson from his French training base in Aix Les Bains.
“First and foremost, I didn't swim particularly well, and was towards the back of the pack out of the water, but still comfortably in the main pack.
“Then running to my bike, the guy wheeling his bike out in front of me stopped in full flight, and I crashed into him, sending me sprawling onto the carpet, and then I managed to put my helmet on the wrong way when I got to my bike.
“One of the officials yelled at me to fix it, so I stopped to do that on my way out, and in the process dropped my bike, and generally made a fool out of myself.
“By the time I had myself sorted out the race was well up the road. All that aside, my form prior to leaving Australia was really good, so I'm confident of a good race in London.”
The very truthful Wilson, who has overcome his own adversities with injury to make the team for Glasgow, knows a repeat of that form will have him in the mix in a race that will again see Britain’s Brownlee boys Jonathan and Alistair and in-form training partners Mario Mola (Spain) and Richard Murray (South Africa).
Royle finished third in Auckland but a hard-earned 14th in Yokohama saw him drop to fourth on the ITU WTS Rankings with team mate Bailie sixth.
The pair have since settled into their Spanish training base in Vitoria, something Royle says will be a positive heading towards Glasgow.
“It's great to be back in Vitoria, I love it here, we all do,” says Royle, “To be able to slot straight back into a familiar place is nice.
“Like most places in Europe at the moment it's been a bit wet and cold, but I can deal with that knowing we are not too far away from summer.”
And come Saturday, Royle is looking for a good result, as his Commonwealth Games debut beckons.
“To finish off the first part of the season in London with a good result would be great,” said Royle.
“To go into this big block of training prior to Glasgow with momentum is what I am aiming to achieve.
“Obviously my ranking of fourth at the moment is good but third would be better.”
ITU WOMEN’S PREVIEW
Start Time – Saturday 4pm (London); Sunday 1am (AEST)
Australia’s London Olympian Emma Jackson is excited about her return to the Olympic city again as she prepares for her Commonwealth Games debut in Glasgow.
And along with ITU Under 23 world champion Charlottle McShane will face a who’s who of ITU racing – including McShane’s Wollongong Wizard’s training partner Gwen Jorgensen (USA) and Great Britain’s WTS rankings leader Jodie Stimpson.
Jackson is currently sitting just inside the top ten, in ninth place on the WTS pointscore while McShane is 24th. ITU WORLD RANKINGS
“It's always a great feeling heading back to London where I competed in at the Olympics and I'm excited to once again race at the Olympic venue.,” said Jackson, who admitted the best part of her Olympic experience was racing for Australia in front of the biggest crowd with her family and friends in it. “It was a surreal experience. “
And her desires to race in Rio de Janeiro continue to burn.
“After the London Olympic experience I am more determined then ever to race for Australia again at the Rio Olympics and give it my all to win the gold medal,” she says.
“But for the moment my focus is on the Commonwealth Games and I am happy with how my preparations are going. I just hope I can reflect how my training has been in the next couple races in the lead up.”
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Photo credit: ITU