Triathlon: Final hit-out for Kiwis ahead of Rio Olympics

Ryan Sissons competes during the ITU World Triathlon Elite Men's race in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images
Ryan Sissons competes during the ITU World Triathlon Elite Men's race in Auckland. Photo / Getty Images

The latest round of the ITU World Triathlon Series heads this weekend to a familiar and popular spot on the calendar each year when Hamburg hosts the final WTS event before the Rio Olympic Games.

New Zealand will enjoy representation in both the elite men's and women's races, with Nicky Samuels (Wanaka), Tony Dodds (Wanaka) and Ryan Sissons (Auckland) lining up in the individual events as they continue their preparation towards Rio.

Tony Dodds always enjoys racing in Hamburg and returns to a favourite course on the back of some good training at altitude in France.

"Hamburg is on the list of my favourite places to race, the crowds are something special, there are just so many people, and it's a big sport in Germany as well. It's always been a tight and probably one of the fastest races on the circuit, I remember running the first 1km a few years ago and went through in 2.42 for the first kilometre but was still in like 13th, so that's how fast it can be.

"I've been at Font Romeu to train at altitude the past two weeks with my training buddies Dylan McNeice and Sam Ward, and coach Tim Brazier. It's been a big couple weeks and I have some really good sessions under the belt - and by that I mean I am a bit blasted from the training right now but that's what we wanted. I said to Tim I want to go into Hamburg a bit tired and see how I come out, and he has really tested me this past week which has been great!

"I'm going into the race wanting to just give it hell really, then from there we can apply the finishing touches to preparation going into Rio. We always love coming down to race halfway through altitude, it gives a break from the camp, some time to recover a little and be able to breathe easy at sea level."

Samuels is racing on the back of a solid 8th place at the latest round in Stockholm a fortnight ago.

"I'm looking forward to another little hit-out on the triathlon scene. This will be a fast race being a sprint and I'm not sure my legs have that speed needed in them for a sprint yet but it will be good to get off the mountain for the weekend to change things up a little.

"I have had another solid week of training under my belt since Stockholm so really have just pushed on and done a couple of big key sessions in there knowing that the bigger picture is always Rio. I will give myself Thursday and Friday to try freshen up a little, other than that it's still all go.

"The other thing this weekend is stay safe as it is often wet and there are numerous manholes and white lines on the corners along with cobbles so this will be the most important thing, secondly a good solid race and a last chance to experience that racing environment pre Rio."

New Zealand will not however take up their spot in the Mixed Team Relay on the Sunday local time, forgoing that event for the longer term good of the Olympic Games. High Performance Director Graeme Maw explains the decision.

"With Rio on the doorstep, it's an unwarranted risk for the athletes to do back to back racing in Hamburg, and our other athletes and resources around the world are focused on preparing for World Championship goals in Cozumel in September. We're a little sad that we won't take up our place on the start line in what is a great event and one in which we have had success in the past, but we will be back next year with a fully committed team".

- NZ Herald

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