Sophie Corbidge is always looking at the positives, but after a wretched time of it in 2016, it is understandable if she is pinching herself, touching wood and perhaps crossing her fingers that her recent good run of training and fitness continues leading into this weekends Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup Triathlon.

After taking some months out in 2016 to overcome serious health issues - including Adrenal Fatigue, Corbidge is back and raring to go this weekend to cap off a solid summer back in the sport she loves.

"After a solid start to the year with Takapuna and Kinloch races, I am looking to build on these performances and put together a strong race in New Plymouth. In training, I have been working on all three disciplines to improve fitness and speed, so I'm excited to see what I can achieve this weekend on a course that suits my style of racing," said Corbidge.

"This has been one of my most consistent training blocks for several years. I have had a large focus on stress-management, injury-prevention and overall enjoyment since my time out in 2016. I believe this will hold me in good stead for a successful and uninterrupted season in 2017.

"It's always fun racing here in New Zealand with a home crowd. I thrive on the kiwi support and think that the Quality Hotel New Plymouth World Cup event makes for an awesome weekend for both athletes and spectators."

Nicole van der Kaay (Taupo) is lining up for the second time in New Plymouth, the 20 year old knows that these sorts of races are about taking your opportunities to gain vital experience, but also to post as strong a result as possible.

"It's really great that New Zealand is able to host an ITU World Cup race, once again in New Plymouth. This gives us an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the worlds best in our own country. I really enjoy ocean swimming, so the swim course with its beach run start really suits me.

"This will be my fourth race so far this season -Takapuna, Kinloch, and I recently competed in my first Olympic Distance triathlon at Mooloolaba, also a World Cup race, placing well (5th place)."

Van der Kaay will back up with a first start in a world Series event on the Gold Coast a week after New Plymouth, and has longer term aspirations of racing back in the country of her family, with the 2017 Grand Final being hosted in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

"Hopefully with some strong results, I will have qualified myself for the World Championship Grand Finale held in Rotterdam, where I might get to see some of my relatives for the first time! Otherwise though my goals are to gain invaluable experience and knowledge through racing in European World Cups and further WTS races, in the process rubbing shoulders with some of the worlds best."

Elise Salt (Auckland) is focused on a strong performance on Sunday, with the race a qualifier for the New Zealand team to the U23 World Championships later in the year.

"New Plymouth is one of my target races this year as I hope to secure a spot on the New Zealand team. I need to finish within 4% of the overall winner so that is the ultimate performance goal.

"I have had a slow start to the year with some pretty poor performances in my last three races, but the primary focus in those events was to set myself up for this weekend. The training I've done has started to pay off the last couple of weeks and I'm coming into some good form which is perfect timing. "

Deb Lynch is looking for a strong performance on Sunday, while also using the race to ready herself for a rare shot at a World Series race on the Gold Coast a week later.

"I am hoping to knock out a good swim to be in the mix for the rest of the race. Obviously, I'd love a top ten result, but as long as I'm ticking off the processes and putting myself in a position to race well, I'll be happy. I'll be racing at Gold Coast World Tri Series the next weekend, so it will be great mentally to get the little bits all checked off, before stepping it up."

The Porirua athlete has not enjoyed the best of luck in New Plymouth, but is hoping that changes on Sunday.

"This will be my third time racing New Plymouth, and I'd like to think, third time lucky! I haven't had my finest performances here, even though it's a course I really enjoy - especially the tough, technical bike. I just need to have the swim and run legs show up, and we're game on. I will have great support from family and friends making the trip from Wellington, I am excited to be racing in front of them."

The event dubbed Sprint by the Mountain is made possible with the ongoing support of Quality Hotel Plymouth International, Venture Taranaki, Port Taranaki and TSB Community Trust.

New Zealanders on the start list for the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup are:

Men: Tayler Reid (Gisborne), Hayden Wilde (Whakatane), Kyle Smith (Taupo), Daniel Hoy (Auckland), Ryan Sissons (Auckland), Liam Ward (Auckland)

Women: Deb Lynch (Porirua), Nicole van der Kaay (Taupo), Elise Salt (Auckland), Sophie Corbidge (Auckland), Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch), Elizabeth Stannard (Palmerston North).

Event website:
- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Triathlon New Zealand