Australia will field an 11-strong squad to travel across the ditch to contest the 2019 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup this weekend.
The second World Cup of the season and sixth edition of the event, held at Ngamotu Beach and the stunning surrounds of Taranaki is a sprint distance race - 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run.
The Gold Coast’s Brandon Copeland will be floating into New Plymouth on a cloud of confidence after his impressive performance at Mooloolaba ITU World Cup two weeks ago finishing a very close second to Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk.
The 23-year-old Copeland said the Mooloolaba result was his best result by far, his and first World Cup podium, and will be hoping to better his ninth-place last year in New Plymouth.
“This year is all about trying to take the next step and be more consistent on the World level,” said Copeland.
Sydney based, Queenslander Ryan Fisher also heads into the race in ‘fast form’ following his win at the Super League Triathlon Bali event that earned him a golden ticket into the ‘main game’. He out swam, out biked and ran a competitive field, but it was his turn of speed in the run leg that delivered him the wins.
“I’ve had a pretty good focus on my technical running and biomechanics, and it’s been working well. Obviously, there is still lots to do,” said Fisher.
Joining Copeland and Fisher will be Commonwealth Games representative Luke Willian, Rio Olympian Ryan Bailie and Callum McClusky.
66 men in total will start in New Plymouth, as expected a full New Zealand contingent and 5-time World Champion and Olympic Silver medallist Javier Gomez (ESP) making his return to the short distance racing to test himself in pursuit of another Olympic campaign.
Kelly-Ann Perkins returned to top level racing ten months ago after spending nearly two years away from the sport after having issues recovering from a severe leg injury.
The 25-year-old Caloundra athlete finished a creditable eighth at her home town race in Mooloolaba and will be looking to continue her form and return to the sport.
The Aussie women have all shown promising early season form and are exactly where they would expect to be in this stage of their programs.
Emma Jeffcoat has looked strong in her outings at Super League Triathlon and Mooloolaba, expect to see her lead out of the swim and set the scene on the bike this weekend.
Jaz Hedgeland opened 2019 with a solid performance in Mooloolaba just out of the top ten and will be looking to build on that as her season is underway.
Tamsyn Moana-Veale returns to racing after her outstanding results at the 2019 Devonport OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup and Oceania Championships where, she recorded the fastest run of the day to secure the silver medal.
Olympian Emma Jackson and 2018 World Champion Mixed Relay team member Charlotte McShane will be hoping to turn their fortunes around in Devonport after disappointing starts to 2019. Jackson still slowly returning from injury that has sidelined her for 18 months did not finish in Devonport and McShane withdrew from Mooloolaba due to illness.
Australian Start List
Ryan Bailie Jaz Hedgeland
Brandon Copeland Emma Jackson
Ryan Fisher Emma Jeffcoat
Callum McClusky Charlotte McShane
Luke Willian Tamsyn Moana-Veale
Elite Women: 10:45 local (08:45 AEDT)
Elite Men: 13:15 local (11:15 AEDT)