It hasn’t taken Aaron Royle long to get himself back in the saddle as the Australian Olympians prepare for this month’s WTS Triathlon Grand Final in Cozumel in Mexico.
Next stop for many of them will be Sunday’s final WTS round in Edmonton (Women: 4am and Men: 6am Monday morning AEST) with Royle, the only Rio Olympian lining up in the sprint race format after his “max effort” 9th place finish in a taxing Rio race.
After joining his Australian team mates in the Rio Closing Ceremony Royle and fellow Rio top ten finisher, training partner Ryan Bailie (10th) both headed off to their pre-Cozumel training base in Clermont in the Lake County, Florida.
“It's been hot and very humid here so it was perfect for the expected conditions in Cozumel,” said Royle.
“I had three day’s rest after Rio where I was able to support other Australians in other sports and also attend the Closing Ceremony before getting on the flight to Clermont.
“I've been getting the body back into action the past week and I'm looking forward to racing in Edmonton. It's looking to be a cold race similar to last year so that will throw up its challenges but I'm looking forward to the challenge.
“The body has recovered well since Rio so all looking on track for the final two ITU races for the season.”
Both Bailie (infected blisters) and fellow Rio Olympian Ryan Fisher (flu virus) have withdrawn from the Canadian race which has attracted seven of the top 12 finishers from Rio, to ensure they are both 100 per cent for Cozumel.
Bailie sought immediate medical attention when he returned to the Athletes Village in the days post the Rio race while Fisher felt the effects of the flu virus on the eve of his Olympic debut before the full brunt of it hit him post the Games.
Discussions with Triathlon Australia’s Performance Director Bernard Savage and both Bailie and Fisher were quick to withdraw from the Edmonton race.
Bailie is currently sitting in sixth place on the WTS rankings and is keen to make every post a winner in Cozumel as he strives to achieve his best ever rankings finish.
He is one place behind Australia’s highest ranked athlete, last year’s Under 23 World Champion, Jake Birtwhistle, who is sitting in fifth place behind Olympians, Spanish pair Mario Mola, Fernando Alarza, British silver medallist Jonathan Brownlee and Frenchman Pierre Le Corre.
In the men’s race, Royle will be joined by Commonwealth Games team mate Dan Wilson, who is very much running himself back into form and youngsters Matt Roberts and Luke Willian.
Wilson (Elite), Willian (Under 23) and Roberts (Under 23/TBC) have all been named in Australia’s World Championship team.
Australia’s Rio women, Emma Moffatt, Erin Densham and Ashleigh Gentle had always chosen to skip the Edmonton race to also prepare for Cozumel.
So the women’s race will see the appearance of, London Olympian and former under 23 world champion Emma Jackson, 2014 Under 23 World Championship silver medallist Gillian Backhouse and in-form former Australian Junior Champion Jaz Hedgeland.
Jackson has been running herself into form following her 10th place finish in the Hamburg WTS race; a brilliant leg in Australia’s silver medal winning team in the World Championship Teams Relay before finishing fourth in the Montreal World Cup.
It will be an ideal race for Australia’s next crop of women to show their wares as they put the finishing touches to their Cozumel preparations.
Jackson and Backhouse will both line up in the Elite race with Hedgeland joining Emma Jeffcoat, who will make her Australian team debut in Mexico.
The Australian girls will face five of the top ten finishes in the Rio – bronze medallist Vicky Holland and her British team mate Non Stanford (fourth), Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Flora Duffy (Bermuda) and Rachel Klammer (NED).
Australia’s highest ranked athletes on the WTS rankings are: Charlotte McShane (8th), Gentle (11th) and Moffatt (15th).