WTCS Abu Dhabi: Aussies Rev Up for World Triathlon Championship Series Opener

7 Mar 2024

Photo Credit: World Triathlon

This weekend’s opening round of the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) in Abu Dhabi will take on a Formula 1 feel, to kick start the 2024 series and Olympic season.

Abu Dhabi will again be raced on the edge of the famed Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, with the cream of Australia’s triathletes tuning their engines alongside the world’s best, with their sights set on Paris Olympic and Paralympic qualification.

The 750m Marina swim course transitions down the home straight of the Formula 1 track and then it is out onto the five 4 kilometre laps of a fast and rolling bike course before two 2.5 kilometre run laps to the blue carpet and the finish tape.

With the opening sprint distance race the start of a six-stop World Triathlon Championship Series – culminating in the just announced Grand Final in Torremolinos-Andalucia (ESP) from October 17-20.

In between, the Series will travel to Yokohama, JPN (May 11), Cagliari, ITA (May 25), Hamburg, GER (July 13-14) and Montreal, CAN (September 14-15) .

With the Olympic centre piece set down for July 20, 31 and August 5 in Paris – the seventh time triathlon will appear on the Olympic Games program since making its spectacular debut in Sydney in 2000.

The 2024 Paris Olympic course around the River Seine, the Champs Elysée and with the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower it promises to be equally breathtaking.

But as Australia’s band of coaches keep saying when Paris is mentioned – let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

It’s all about remaining consistent in training and focusing on the process; continuing to build throughout a very busy season ahead with two major local races in Australia – featuring Devonport (March 15, 16) and the Wollongong World Triathlon Cup (April 21).

One man who has already ticked the Paris selection box is Australia’s number one triathlete, Matt Hauser, but who will headline the Australian charge into Abu Dhabi this weekend.

And as Hauser’s long-time coach Dan Atkins made clear when they arrived in Abu Dhabi earlier in the week,  “Matt’s coming off a big body of work, from a brutal Queensland summer, so we’re here to blow out the cobwebs with our main focus on sealing a place in Saturday’s WTCS Mixed Team Relay.

“To do that he has to be in the top two Australians to cross the line.”

And that, even for Hauser, will not be an easy task with an in-form Callum McClusky, his training partner and Commonwealth Games teammate Brandon Copeland, and his Tokyo Olympic Games teammate Jake Birtwhistle also on the start line.

McClusky, coached by Danielle Stefano, took the win at the World Triathlon Cup in Napier, a fortnight ago and was also a part of the Australian team that won gold in the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series.

Stefano remains impressed with McClusky’s consistency.

“Callum has been incredibly consistent in training and doing the basics really well. We’ve got a great team around him helping him to tap into the potential we all know he has, and showed, in Napier. 

“He will head to Devonport the week after Abu Dhabi and then look towards both the Wollongong World Cup and Yokohama WTCS before continuing on to Europe, to train in Girona.”

The win in Napier saw McClusky move up 15 places to 81st on the Olympic rankings to put himself right into the selection conversation.

Abu Dhabi will be Birtwhistle’s first race of the year after a four-week training camp in Lanzarote, Spain under coach Drew Box.

Tasmania’s favourite triathlon son will then head home to Launceston following the WTCS Abu Dhabi to race Devonport and the Oceania Triathlon Sprint Championships.

While Copeland is now back on the Gold Coast training alongside Hauser, under Dan Atkins and he comes into Abu Dhabi after an eighth-place finish in Napier, where he was also a member of the triumphant Australian team that took gold in the World Triathlon Mixed Relay Series.

The women’s race also promises to be full of interest led by Commonwealth Games representative from 2022, Sophie Linn after her breakthrough Napier World Cup winning weekend, where she won the women’s race and was part of the Mixed Team Relay with McClusky, Copeland and Emma Jeffcoat.

Linn moved up ten places to 62nd in the Olympic rankings with the win in Napier and has put herself right into the selection conversation. 

Now only seven places away from being the second highest-ranked Australian woman behind Tokyo Olympian, Jaz Hedgeland, who will also line up in Abu Dhabi alongside Natalie Van Coevorden. and Charlotte McShane.

Colorado-based Linn has spent the time since her Napier successes, recovering and “keeping my head down” training in Cambridge, New Zealand.

“Although it’s an Olympic year, Danielle and I are just trying to focus on my journey and doing exactly what we have been doing,” said Linn.

“After Abu Dhabi I’ll head back to Boulder and start a new job as a product designer for SRAM, the innovative cycling component group, before heading to Yokohama and Cagliari in May.”

Stefano buys in on her long-distance coach-athlete relationship with Linn saying how encouraging it is “to see the belief and trust in me from both Sophie and Callum as a coach and our process together as a team, rewarded in Napier, was definitely very sweet for us all. 

“I’m very happy that the investment they’ve made in themselves along with their hard work and dedication was rewarded. 

“Sophie is a great communicator and that is crucial to the success of our coach-athlete relationship. We speak daily via a number of platforms when she’s based in Boulder to ensure we can track and monitor how she’s responding to training and make any necessary changes as we go.”

Meanwhile Australia’s lone para triathlete, Glen Jarvis, currently ranked 10th in the PTS2 class, will be in Abu Dhabi chasing all-important Paralympic Ranking points.

The nine top-ranked athletes on the World Triathlon Paralympic Qualification Ranking as of July 1, 2024, will earn their nation a quota spot for Paris.

However, athletes will receive an automatic nomination to Paralympics Australia if they are among the top five.

In his last start, Jarvis finished second 2nd behind Thomas Goodman, ranked 12th but with one less event, at the 2024 Oceania Triathlon Para Championships in Stockton.

WTCS Abu Dhabi – Elite Men
Friday, March 8 – 11:45 pm AEST

Matt Hauser
Brandon Copeland
Jake Birtwhistle
Callum McClusky

Full Start List


World Triathlon Para Cup Abu Dhabi
Friday, March 8 – 5:00 pm AEST


Glen Jarvis (PTS2)

Full Start List


WTCS Abu Dhabi – Elite Women
Friday, March 8 – 9:45 pm AEST

Natalie Van Coevorden
Jaz Hedgeland
Sophie Linn
Charlotte McShane

Full Start List

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