Sydney’s Emma Jeffcoat will wear the number three on Saturday at the sprint distance Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup, but she lines up as the defending champion.
Last years race was a memorable one for Jeffcoat, her maiden World Cup victory, the former surf lifesaving champion will savour the ocean and maybe a bit of swell in the swim this weekend to get some clear space onto the tough bike and run.
“This will be my 4th year back to Mooloolaba World Cup, it’s an event on home soil with a surf swim and tough course that I really love! Last year was special earning my first World Cup podium and win, surrounded by family and friends. I’ll be looking to have a strong hit out again on Saturday,” said Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat has had a busy start to the 2019 season, lining up at the Super League Triathlon Grand Final in Singapore over two days of brutal racing formats and stifling heat to finish ninth overall.
Then at last weekend’s WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi Jeffcoat’s strong swim/bike placed her at the front end of the field in the individual sprint race on Saturday but faded on the run, a result she puts down to the back to back racing.
New Plymouth ITU World Cup at the end of March will be the final one for Jeffcoat before heading into another training camp, this time at altitude in Perisher with the Jamie Turner squad.
Ashleigh Gentle has trod the same racing path as her training partner Jeffcoat and will wear the number one bib on Saturday.
Gentle finished a solid tenth in Abu Dhabi, feeling the effects of the racing and travel, but the chance to race at home is too tempting, especially at one of her favourite events.
Gentle and Jeffcoat will go into Mooloolaba full of confidence after winning the Mixed Relay event in Abu Dhabi along with Luke Willian and Jake Birtwhistle. It was Jeffcoat’s debut in the Australian Mixed Relay team and one she was thrilled to be part of.
NSW’s Natalie Van Coevorden and Victoria’s Charlotte McShane will be looking to get their season back on track after a disappointing start in Abu Dhabi last weekend. The pair finished fifth and sixth respectively at Mooloolaba last year and have their eye on a podium spot.
Australia has a full complement of women on the start line, the in-form Joanne Miller who took out the Devonport OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup and Oceania Championships. After a tough 2018 the Queenslander made an impressive return to racing. Also lining up, Gold Coast based Jaz Hedgeland and Kelly-Ann Perkins.
2016 Olympians Ryan Bailie and Ryan Fisher will be looking to put some good results on the board at Mooloolaba this weekend. Bailie was the victim of the bike course in Abu Dhabi last week. The Western Australian has relocated to a new training environment in the USA this year under Australian coach Jonathan Hall, and Fisher has returned to ITU racing after a stint at the half distance circuit post Rio.
Fisher recently finished fifth at the Devonport race and has also paired up with a new coach and relocated from Brisbane to Sydney.
Matthew Roberts finished second to Under 23 World Champion Tayler Reid (NZL) at Devonport, just three seconds splitting the pair in the end and will be trying to back it up this weekend.
Declan Wilson will be glad to race on his own bike this weekend, the Canberran had to make a hurried phone call to Jake Birtwhistle in Devonport to borrow his bike after a part was damaged in transit.
Also lining up for Australia is Brandon Copeland, Luke Burns and Callum McClusky in a massive field of 67 men.
The women’s race will start at 1pm on Saturday with the men’s race at 3pm.
Elite Women: 1:00pm start AEST
Elite Men: 3:00pm start AEST