ITU New Plymouth SPRINT Triathlon - 3rd April 2016 - Website currently being updated for 2016
24 December 2015
PRESS RELEASE: on behalf of the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup 2016
STRONG FIELDS LIKELY FOR NEW PLYMOUTH ITU WORLD CUP
New Plymouth looks likely to once again play host to some of the best triathletes in the world when it hosts a round of the ITU World Cup Series in April 2016, including the possibility that one of the best the sport has ever seen might be on the start line on Sunday April 3rd with American superstar Gwen Jorgensen a real chance to be in the race. Beyond the top names, the depth is again set to rival previous years when over 30 nations have been represented across the men’s and women’s start lists.
The Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup has a strong history, with a list of winners to rival any international race anywhere in the world and while 2016 is some time away, Event Director Terry Sheldrake is excited at the thought of strong fields assembling for the ‘Sprint by a Mountain’.
“New Zealand is a perfect starting point for the season and a great base from which to train through our summer and race here at the New Plymouth World Cup and just prior at the ITU Oceania Champs (Gisborne, March 20) and potentially across the Tasman at the ITU Mooloolaba World Cup (March 11) and ITU Gold Coast World Series race (April 9/10).
“In Olympic year athletes and nations are typically keen to get early ranking points on the board as they try and improve individual cases for selection and secure national team spots in Rio. We are already getting strong interest from athletes in the Oceania region but also from further afield in North America and Europe as some lay down a training base in good weather conditions and line up some early season races to find form and get those important ranking points.”
Jamie Turner is a renowned coach who these days divides his time between Australia and Spain. The former Francis Douglas Memorial College student will be hosting a large group of athletes in New Plymouth from March 7, and while not all will race in New Plymouth, they will be in town promoting the event and the sport with community and school activations.
“I will have a large and well known group of athletes in New Plymouth in March/April, with a number of them set to line up on the 3rd. Some are already focused longer term on Rio and may look to the Gold Coast World Series event to begin their racing but others will be racing in New Plymouth and then also a week earlier in Gisborne at the Oceania Champs.
“The location is great with the region offering superb hospitality and world class training conditions, both in regards weather at that time of the year but also facilities and roads, the athletes love it and are looking forward to returning. The region includes great running trails amongst local parks and walkways – open water swimming and roads for cycling with all elements – flats – hills – long climbs and wind!”
Those coming to New Zealand under Turner’s coaching include Aaron Royle (world number 9 and former U23 World Champion), Ryan Bailie (world number 6), Grace Musgrove, Tamsyn Moana Veale, Jake Birtwhistle (current U23 World Champion, Natalie Van Coevorden and Charlotte McShane (Australia, former U23 World Champion); Barbara Riveros (Chile – world number 11 and former world number one), Tyler Mislawchuk , Sarah Anne Brault, Amelie Kretz, Alexis Lepage (Canada) and the jewel in the crown in World Champion Gwen Jorgensen (USA). Aaron, Gwen and Barbara have already qualified for the Rio games to their respective national teams.
Turner says New Plymouth is likely to be a key event for the Australians in particular as they look to earn spots on their nation’s team for Rio.
“Gold Coast World Triathlon Series is the second and final automatic selection race for Australia, so for athletes like Ryan Bailie, Jake Birtwhistle and Charlotte McShane New Plymouth becomes a vital race as part of their preparation for the Gold Coast and they will be coming here in pretty good early season shape.
“For some athletes not from New Zealand or Australia in my group – such as the Canadians, their performances in New Plymouth can contribute significantly to their Olympic qualification rankings and so again means it is a vital race for them in the context of 2016.”
There is every chance too that one of the greatest triathletes the world has even seen will line up in New Plymouth, with Turner saying Jorgensen is a real possibility to be on the start line given the sprint distance of the event and the fact she will already be in the region training.
Turner says regardless, the impact that the elite athletes will have while here goes beyond the actual race.
“We are working with the event organisers to be in the community and give something back, especially to the schools. It has been a part of this event every year and is something the athletes look forward to, the visits can be a real highlight during event week, the kids love it and spend so much time researching both the athletes and their countries and I know the athletes enjoy sharing in that enthusiasm and spreading the word about our sport.”
While the New Zealand presence at the event is not yet confirmed, there will be a group of Kiwis with similar goals to the Australians and internationals as they look to earn ranking points towards selection for Rio, prepare for the Gold Coast event, or simply gain experience at World Cup level in the case of some of the younger athletes.
“ITU World Cup races serve multiple purposes for the Tri NZ HP Programme, one is as an important step on the development pathway for athletes looking to progress towards ITU World Series events,” said Graeme Maw, Tri NZ High Performance Director.
“A World Cup such as New Plymouth will provide exposure to international opposition with the added benefit of racing in our home conditions. For the likes of Sam Ward, Tayler Reid and others, it is a perfect opportunity at this stage of their careers.
“But also in Olympic year the New Plymouth event will play a part in Olympic selection for a number of athletes, while also acting as an ideal warm up event at a high level for future WTS races. For someone like Braden Currie it is a potential gateway into WTS racing where he must prove himself to be considered for Rio.”
The full Kiwi contingent will be confirmed in the New Year, as will international athletes put their names forward once the entry list is opened up by the ITU.
It is likely once again that both elite men’s and women’s fields will see a wide range of countries represented, from around the world as athletes and nations chase Olympic ranking points and experience on a course that is much enjoyed by the athletes, while also tasting our world renowned Kiwi hospitality.
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Free to use editorial image of 2015 winner, Richard Murray (South Africa). Credit: Scottie T Photography
While the full World Cup calendar won’t be revealed until that meeting on September 16 in Chicago, event director Terry Sheldrake says New Plymouth can expect to again host an early round of the World Cup series.
“We are delighted to again be bringing such a truly international event to New Zealand and to the community of New Plymouth. With great support from Quality Hotel Plymouth International, Port Taranaki, TSB Community Trust and Venture Taranaki, we are able to return for the third year.
“As a result of that support from the wider business and residential community New Plymouth is profiled around the world as a destination for international and domestic travelers. We expect again to see athletes, coaches and support staff from over 40 countries with strong media interest around the world, not the least of which is of course here in New Zealand as our leading athletes enjoy a pinnacle event in their own backyard.”
Darrin Muggeridge is Managing Director of the naming rights partner Quality Hotel Plymouth International, but more so than that, he has New Plymouth in his veins with the Spotswood High School old-boy delighted to again be involved.
“The World Cup Triathlon is an awesome event for New Plymouth, to have that number of countries to one event anywhere in the world is amazing, but to think they are all coming here to New Plymouth is incredible.
“Our business is obviously right here in the city and we along with others in the hospitality trade thrive on events such as this. Events that not only bring visitors and their spending money into the region, but events that promote New Plymouth and all we have to offer to the rest of New Zealand and around the world.
“We are very proud to be a part of the wider business and council community supporting the organisers and look forward to another great event next year.”
With Auckland backing out of hosting a round of the ITU World Triathlon Series, Sheldrake says the Quality Hotel sponsored New Plymouth World Cup assumes even greater importance in this part of the world.
“We will still form part of a series of dates down under that will see some of the best triathletes in the world travel here not only to compete, but to train and prepare for the northern hemisphere season and of course the Olympic Games in August. There will be a number of Oceania Continental Cup status events in New Zealand as well World Cup races in Australia, to ensure that the quality of athletes remains high and the names very much recognizable to the wider public.”
While the ITU is still to ratify the calendar, it is expected that New Plymouth will host their round of the ITU World Cup Series on April 3rd 2016, with elite sprint races for both men and women. The full schedule of events and the possibility of any support races will be confirmed in the weeks ahead.
Triathlon New Zealand CEO Craig Waugh is delighted that the New Plymouth event is once again set to put the sport in the spotlight at the end of the upcoming summer.
“It is vital for our sport and indeed for our up and coming elite athletes that we have pinnacle events such as the Quality Hotel New Plymouth World Cup to keep us top of mind and in the shop window so to speak. Terry, the sponsors, the local council and his wonderful support team in New Plymouth do a great job and I have no doubt we will again see a very successful World Cup event with strong international fields and great racing.”
For further information, contact:
Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup Triathlon
021 645 503
Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup Triathlon