Rio Olympians Ryan Bailie and Aaron Royle have joined forces again in the lead up to this weekend’s Bermuda debut – the second leg of this year’s World Triathlon Series.
The former training partners have spent their time together preparing in Clermont, Florida as they set themselves to join the 52-strong field for the first Olympic distance race of the year.
The world’s leading top triathletes (52 men and 33 women) have arrived into the home nation of double World Champion and recently crowned Commonwealth Games champion Flora Duffy – “to enjoy the pink sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and suffer the dramatic Corkscrew Hill.”
Situated north of the Caribbean, off the coast of North America, east of North Carolina, the British territory will welcome and then test the best of the best in and around the capital’s Hamilton Harbour.
WTS Bermuda will face a 1500m swim in the calm and transparent waters of Hamilton’s Harbour to then get ready for what is most likely to be the most brutal bike ride of the season: 10 trips up the infamous “Corkscrew Hill” followed by a technical descent, nice technical turns and corners with the magic background of the picturesque buildings of the islands.
After missing Commonwealth Games selection Bailie and Royle have travelled different routes that have seen them come together to again take on the world’s best.
Bailie, 27, has been in New Zealand since finishing sixth in last month’s New Plymouth World Cup and Royle’s 12th placing in the opening WTS round in Abu Dhabi.
“I actually stayed in New Zealand for a month following New Plymouth World Cup, living out in Waitara, near where coach Jamie Turner grew up and training throughout the region there.
“It’s an awesome place to train and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the bulk of my Bermuda work there.
“The community is very welcoming and they can’t ever do enough for you.
“I have since moved on to Florida, Clermont where I have done the final block - a 10 day stint, which has been very consistent and I’m excited to get out and race.
“Bermuda was always one of the races I wanted to target for the first half of the year as it should play to my strengths with a tough bike course that features Corkscrew Hill 10 times!
“It’s a Flora Duffy designed course which I’m certain will be nothing but tough!!”
Royle has re-united with his former training partner in Clermont in what they are hoping will be a happy re-union for the long-standing Australian representatives who finished 9th (Royle) and 10th(Bailie) in Rio.
And waiting for them on the start line will be four athletes who finished ahead of them in Rio, recently crowned Commonwealth Champion Henri Schoeman, his team mate Richard Murray, two-time and defending WTS champion Mario Mola (Spain), Belgium’s Marten Van Riel and Frenchman Vincent Luis.
Throw in Leo Bergere (France); Joao Silva (Portugal), Gustav Iden (Norway), Tyler Mislawchuk (Canada) and Fernando Alarza (France) and the ride up Corkscrew Hill will be on.
Royle experienced the other side of the fence – working as a television commentator during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“Prior to Florida with Bailie, I was in Wollongong, the Gold Coast for the Commonwealth Games and Noosa pre Games,” said Royle.
“I loved commentating at the Games. Obviously still being an athlete I would have loved to have been out there racing, but to sit on the another side of the fence and still somewhat be part of the Games in Australia was pretty cool.
“To call four Australian medals with David Culbert (Olympian and Channel 7 commentator) was pretty special.
“Hopefully I’ll be back on the athlete side of the fence come Tokyo, but if not I’ll put my hand up again.
“Abu Dhabi was a solid opener for me, although my results the past 12 months haven’t been exactly what I’ve expected of myself and a little inconsistent.
“This year I would really like to consistently get myself back to the pointy end of the field.
“It will be our first time to Bermuda but from all accounts it’s a tough course and the first Olympic distance race for the year, which should suit.”
The elite men will kick off the 2018 MS Amlin World Triathlon Bermuda event on Saturday, April 28 at 13:00 local time. The women will follow shortly after at 16:00. You can catch both races LIVE and on-demand on TriathlonLIVE.tv and follow along with play-by-play updates on our Twitter@TriathlonLIVE as well as on our Instagram and Facebook. You can also join in on the conversation using #WTSBermuda.