Rising star Jaz Hedgeland and London Olympian Emma Jackson are ready to continue their recent run of World Triathlon Series (WTS) success, as racing rolls into Edmonton this weekend.
With Lausanne’s final round of WTS racing and the the Tokyo ITU World Olympic Qualification Event edging closer, Hedgeland and Jackson will be looking to capitalize on their impressive Montreal WTS performances in Edmonton.
Coming off the back of her strongest results to date with 9th at Montreal WTS, Hedgeland told Triathlon Australia that she is really excited to return to WTS Edmonton for first time since 2017.
“I’m keen to head back to Canada after racing in the Montreal WTS a couple of weeks ago and managing my best World Series race result yet,” Hedgeland said.
“I’ve set some big goals for myself this year and it feels kind of surreal to actually be ticking them off slowly.” “I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had so far this year and can’t wait for the racing ahead.”
Teammate Jackson says that she is thrilled to have finally returned to the form she knows she is capable of, after taking 7th at Montreal WTS and overcoming a few tough years of injury.
“It’s been a busy block of racing with Montreal and Hamburg only a couple of weeks ago, but I’m excited to be back racing at WTS level and have another chance to perform,” Jackson said.
Kelly-Ann Perkins will be joining them on the starting line, off the back of her bronze medal at the Tiszaujvaros World Cup last weekend. Ashleigh Gentle and Charlotte McShane will also be heading to the Canadian city, with both athletes looking to put together solid performances after a few difficult races.
With Series Leader Katie Zaferes and high performing Brits Georgia Taylor-Brown, Non Stanford and Jess Learmonth noticeably absent from the start list, the field is wide open for a new 2019 WTS title winner. Hamburg bronze medallist Summer Rappaport (USA) will no doubt have her sights set on top honours, with fellow American Taylor Spivey and Japan’s Yuko Takahashi also shaping up to be strong contenders.
In the Elite Men’s racing, Matt Hauser will be searching for yet another Top 10 WTS finish, as he looks to back up last month’s 7th place finish at WTS Montreal.
Speaking to Triathlon Australia, Hauser said he’ll be aiming to find an extra boost of confidence in Edmonton this weekend as he prepares for next month’s Tokyo Test Event.
“I’m really excited to give it everything for my second WTS of the year in Edmonton this weekend,” Hauser said.
“For me, this year has been about quality over quantity of races. I’ve been putting in some solid work up in Salt Lake City, Utah for my first ever training camp at altitude with (Coach) Dan Atkins and the squad, including Jaz (Hedgeland) and Brandon (Copeland).”
“I’m aiming to back up my performance in Montreal and hopefully gain a spot back on the Mixed Relay squad, a team I’ve enjoyed watching over the past year and one that I’ve missed being a part of.”
Hauser will have his work cut out for him, with a class field set to line up in Montreal including our very own Jake Birtwhistle.
In what has been Birtwhistle’s breakout season with two WTS titles under his belt, the Tasmanian will have his sights set on another assertive performance in Edmonton as the Series inches towards the pointy end and a World Championship title on offer.
Aaron Royle will be looking to finally break into a Top 10 finish following a string of consistent results, taking 12th at WTS Hamburg and 11th at WTS Leeds.
Aussies Ryan Bailie and Brandon Copeland will also be ones to keep an eye out for as they look for confidence boosting results in Edmonton after several tough races.
The Australian Elite Men will find themselves up against another world-class field, with Series Leader Vincent Luis, Spaniard trio Javiar Gomez Noya, Fernando Alarza, and Mario Mola and in-form Belgians Jelle Geens and Marten Van Riel all set to toe the starting line on Saturday.
In a jam-packed weekend, Sunday sees the Australians return to the field in the Mixed Relay, off the back of their bronze medal at the World Championships in Hamburg earlier this month.
Hamburg silver medallists, Germany and Trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand will be aspiring to repeat their impressive Hamburg performances. A determined American side will be on the hunt for redemption after a tough World Championship race that saw them finish 9th.
The Mixed Relay team for Australia will be announced on Monday morning ahead of racing.
ITU World Triathlon Edmonton
Elite Women: Saturday July 20, 3:30PM LOCAL | Sunday July 21, 7:30AM AEST
Elite Men: Saturday July 20, 5:30PM LOCAL | Sunday July 21, 9:30AM AEST
Mixed Team Relay: Sunday July 21, 4:30PM LOCAL | Monday July 22, 8:30AM AEST