Four New Zealand athletes will race at the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup Sprint event on Australia's Sunshine Coast this weekend, two in the elite men's race and two in the elite women's event.



Nicole van der Kaay (Taupo) and Deb Lynch (Porirua) will line up in the women's event, van der Kaay in her debut appearance at this level while Lynch races for just the third time at World Cup level.



Despite having already raced at this level in New Plymouth and Tiszaujvaros (Hungary) in 2014, Lynch feels that she is in a much better space to perform this weekend.



"It kind of feels like my first World Cup race, the first two were coming off being at University for a few years and having a good summer to get into that sort of form to race at the U23 World Champs in 2014. I now have another two years under my belt with a solid summer of training, relatively injury free."

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The U23 athlete is enjoying support from the Tri NZ High Performance Programme this summer, and while not fully a part of the squads, is clearly feeling the benefits of that involvement.



"Consistency has been huge for me this summer, having a squad to train with all the time, especially with the swimming. And then the contact time with Tim (Coach Tim Brazier) around key running sessions especially, those things are making a big difference."



Lynch understands where she is at in her career at this point and is realistic about her expectations this weekend.



"I am feeling good, I am fit and strong. The last couple of races my running has improved a lot and feels more comfortable. I know that I need to nail the swim over there and then let the race unfold from there."



Joining Lynch in the elite women's race is someone even less experienced but no less excited about her debut World Cup appearance. 20 year old Nicole van der Kaay has had to fight injury just to get back racing, with a stress fracture keeping her away from racing for most of 2015.



"Words cannot describe how happy and privileged I feel to be selected to once again represent New Zealand, let alone being back on the Triathlon racing scene," said van der Kaay.



"This will be my first time racing against some of the best in the world, of all ages, and majority of which competed and placed top eight in the WTS held in Abu Dhabi last weekend. Obviously the nerves are heightened but I'm looking forward to another challenge and I plan on using my surf swim skills to my advantage!"



A member of the Tri NZ High Performance Squads, van der Kaay is trying not to get caught up in the hype of her debut appearance as she plays the long game in her triathlon career.



"My goal is to gain experience racing against the best, and see what I can do in comparison to them. This will hopefully the first of many World Cups which will help me progress into racing World Triathlon Series in 2017, then targeting the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast with the ultimate goal of Olympic representation in Tokyo 2020."



The men's race features Braden Currie (Wanaka) and Andrew Lloyd (Bay of Plenty), with Currie continuing to find his feet at ITU level as he looks to transition from multisport and longer distance racing, into the fast and furious world of ITU action.



The fiercely competitive and determined Currie has so far rued mistakes in Continental Cup events in Kinloch, Takapuna and last weekend in Wollongong when he found himself isolated during the swim but is determined to push on with his efforts in pure triathlon events. 17th last week in Wollongong, Currie is looking to put lessons learned so far into action in Mooloolaba tomorrow, with the key being to emerge from the water in contact with the leaders.