Four members of Australia’s recently announced Commonwealth Games team for Birmingham will launch themselves into Super Sprint Eliminator mode in what will be a helter skelter three-days of racing in Montreal this weekend.
Gold Coast Games hero from 2018 Jake Birtwhistle will be joined by 2022 Commonwealth Games debutants Brandon Copeland, Natalie Van Coevorden and Sophie Linn who will headline a team of nine in this action-packed World Triathlon Championship Series round that will also include the Mixed Relay World Championship.
Birtwhistle and Copeland will be joined in the men’s individual races by ACT’s Callum McClusky who will be making his Series debut, coming off a strong domestic season. Van Coevorden, 11th in the last WTCS race in Leeds and Gold Coast automatic Games qualifier Linn will be joined by Tokyo Olympian Jaz Hedgeland and sister Kira, London Olympian Emma Jackson and Series debutant from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Matilda Offord.
The Montreal Super Sprint course will consist of a 300m swim, 3-lap/7.2km bike and a 2-lap/2km run, staged over two days; Friday’s program consisting of two qualifier and repechage races that will see 30 athletes confirmed for Saturday’s final.
That final will be split into three cut throat super-sprints, the last 10 across the line being cut at each finish until just 10 athletes remain for one last swim-bike-run finale for the medals.
Australia’s Olympic Program Head Coach Joel Filliol says the new, quite demanding format across the heats, doesn’t leave a lot of room for error.
“It’s an opportunity to get stuck in and figure out how to perform at their best and how to get that out on the course,” said Filliol.
“They are very dynamic races, good to watch. The Super Sprint is a matter of putting yourself in the right position so you can either start the run or get on the bike in the best position possible, racing where every place counts.
“In the eliminator the amount of transitions of course is a higher proportion than normal and it is not just technically doing the transitions, but your position in and out.
“The position going into transition becomes one of the demanding skills where it rewards aggressive and positive racing.”
On Sunday, four of the Australian Elites will race in the Mixed Relay World Championship with the team to be confirmed after the individual Super Sprint eliminator rounds.
“The relay is about putting the next leg in the best position possible and Matt Hauser (who will sit out the Montreal race weekend) did that coming from last in his group in Leeds to be right back in the mix at the end of the run, which is tough to do on such a small run and that theme carried over.
“We are really seeing the athletes getting back into international racing, we could see that in Leeds...the difference between the individual race and the relay with the athletes getting into the groove again in the hectic environment of the WTCS.
“The relay was quite positive in Leeds, it wasn’t perfect, we had some challenges but we saw a real fighting spirit through the team.
“We put ourselves in a position to fight for the podium on the last leg which was a positive step and we’re going to see over these next races the athletes getting at ease again in that (competitive) environment.”
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