Australia’s top triathletes will make their return to the starting line this weekend, with professional racing resuming at home and abroad.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the 2020 World Triathlon Series schedule to a grinding halt earlier this year, the international circuit will resume this weekend in Hamburg for a one-day World Championship under strict conditions, and for the first time over the Sprint Distance.
Natalie Van Coevorden will resume her 2020 ITU racing season this weekend, with the Sydneysider the sole Australian on the Hamburg start list.
After flying back to her European training base in July to re-join her partner and training squad in Europe, Van Coevorden has already shown she is in top form with an impressive fourth place performance at the Super League Arena Games two weeks ago.
Van Coevorden will feature alongside a star-studded Elite Women’s field including 2019 World Triathlon Champion, Katie Zaferes, British trio Jessica Learmonth, Georgia Taylor-Brown, and Vicky Holland, and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Flora Duffy.
With significant barriers and concerns surrounding international travel for Australian athletes, unfortunately Triathlon Australia will not submit a team for the 2020 Hamburg ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships, held this Sunday.
Speaking of the return of the World Triathlon Series, National Performance Director Justin Drew expressed mixed emotions about the one-day Championships.
“It’s obviously exciting to see international racing return to the calendar, although under stringent conditions,” Drew said.
“It’s fantastic for Natalie to have the opportunity to test her skills against some quality international competition, and I’m sure the entire Australian team will all be following the race and supporting her from Australia.”
“Hamburg has historically been a big event for us. We’ve podiumed at the last five Mixed Relay World Championships, and last year we saw Jake [Birtwhistle] breakthrough for his second World Triathlon Series win.”
“It is disappointing to not have a full team there, but we wish everyone racing in Hamburg this weekend all the best and look forward to returning our full team to the world stage when it is practical to do so.”
Closer to home, professional racing will resume in Australia this weekend with a full contingent of elite Australian triathletes set to take to the starting line at the sprint-distance Bribie Island Triathlon on Saturday afternoon.
The Bribie Island Triathlon will provide Australia’s Olympic triathlon hopefuls with their first racing opportunity since March as they continue to work towards Tokyo.
2016 Rio Olympians Aaron Royle, Ryan Fisher and Ashleigh Gentle are all named on the starting list for Saturday, as well 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games representatives Luke Willian, Gillian Backhouse and Charlotte McShane.
Rising Under 23 and junior stars will also join the prospective Olympians on the starting line at Bribie Island on Saturday afternoon, ahead of Junior and Age Group racing on Sunday morning.
2020 Bribie Island Triathlon
Open Elite Races – Saturday September 5
Photo Credit: Craig Hawkhead