Australia’s six-strong Glasgow Commonwealth Games triathlon team will be front and centre at the Nepean this Sunday for Australia’s longest running triathlon.
The race will see the return of defending champions Aaron Royle and Emma Moffatt who will be joined by their Games team mates Ryan Bailie, Dan Wilson, Emma Jackson and Ashleigh Gentle.
It will be the first time the team has been together since Royle, Bailie, Jackson and Moffatt staged a thrilling finish to win the bronze in the teams relay in Glasgow behind the star-studded English and South African teams.
Anchor runner Bailie produced a perfectly timed run to snatch a nail-biting bronze from Canada and New Zealand as his team mates waited anxiously at the finish line.
For the Glasgow team the Nepean and the iconic Noosa Triathlon (November 1 and 2) will pull the curtain on their 2014 campaigns.
Royle is determined to replicate his stunning 2013 finale with the successful defence of both titles and if his recent form is anything to go by then he once again looms as the man to beat.
The 24-year-old Royle returned home to Newcastle last weekend to win the Fernleigh 15 – a 15km run from Adamstown to Belmont against an Elite field which included 2006 Commonwealth Games marathon runner Scott Westacott.
“It was great to return to my home town and take on the 15kms which I had been hestitant about in the past but to win this race was great – especially at home,” said Royle, who spends his Australian winters in Spain and his summers in Wollongong.
“And with someone like Scott (Westacott) in the field – it just proves I am in good form and hopefully I will be able to take that form o the Nepean and on to Noosa.
“I have been back in Australia about six weeks now, training in Wollongong and things are going pretty well.
“To win both Nepean and Noosa last year was amazing – Nepean with so much tradition and so many great names on the honour role and the same with Noosa, an iconic race in Australian triathlon – so to win back-to-back would be awesome. I’ll be having a crack.”
Jackson is also certainly in good form after defending her ITU Tongyeong World Cup win in Korea last weekend in a sprint finish with Japan’s Ai Ueda.
“I’ve had a few sprint finishes for medals before. Surprisingly I’m not too good at sprinting in training but at the end of a race I’m alright so I guess that’s the main thing,” said Jackson.
“My aim was to defend my title and it was a lot tougher than last year. It was a great finish with Ai Ueda, so she made it very tough for me, so did (third placegetter) Maaike Caelers,” said Jackson.
“I’m just doing the Nepean race for a bit of fun; it is the first time I’ve been able to do after withdrawing the last couple of years so I’m really looking forward to it and not putting any pressure on.
“It will be my final race of the year and I am really looking forward to having two weeks off after the Nepean – and I will do absolutely nothing.
“It has been a long year and I will cherish my break because when I get back into training there will be no let up. The next four years with Olympic selection, hopefully making the team for Rio and then the countdown for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018, will all be very exciting.”
The Elites will race from 7am Sunday morning over the non-drafting format of a 1km swim; 30km bike and 10km run. Log on to the below links for all the details, the men’s and women’s Elite Fields and check out all the previous winners.