Triathlon Australia’s Gold Coast Performance Centre Head Coach Dan Atkins will have a simple instruction for his Tokyo Olympian, Matt Hauser before Friday’s Paris Test Event: “Back yourself!”
Hauser is having the season of his life, breaking through for his maiden World Triathlon Championship Series victory in Montreal last month after his stirring silver in his last Olympic distance race in Yokohama.
Riding and running on roads that have led him and the elite Australian contingent to the City of Lights this week and its famous cobblestone streets, just under a year before Paris hosts next year’s Olympic Games.
And of the greatest importance will be the race for the first places on the Olympic start lines.
Hauser will be among seven Australians who will take on the cream of the world’s triathletes when they converge for a test against the best – a top eight finish will secure the Australians an automatic nomination to the Australian Olympic Committee.
Atkins knows Hauser is ready for the big test and hope his lasting guidance shines through come race-day.
“Give it your all Matt…. take every moment and back your ability,” will be the final words of wisdom from Atkins, who has guided Hauser through his elite career.
“This is the ‘Test Event’ so whilst it may not be perfect it can set us up to be close to perfect in eleven months’ time.
“Matt is in good form, and he has pushed past the last race in Hamburg (where he was a close-up fifth in the WTCS Super Sprint final) and he has had a little break followed by three great uninterrupted weeks of training.
“If Matt is in the hunt he will be near the front and then can test his legs out - I'm certainly excited like Matt is to test where he’s at now, since Yokohama.
“We've had some little setbacks but nothing that we haven’t been able to handle.
“Consistency being based in our Spanish training headquarters in Banyoles where the weather has been hot and really dry, so we haven't missed anything key.
“We tend to roll week after week, bringing in that somewhat mundane space, means we are all here really excited to see the athletes race.
“I know a lot of the other countries have gone all-in for this Test Event so seeing them race also gives us the information as well to best plan for next year.”
Success in the Test Event will for most Federations determine places on their teams for 2024.
Water quality in the River Seine has been the big question on everyone’s lips leading into the race – following the cancellation of the World Aquatics Open Water Test Event.
If the race becomes a Duathlon, Atkins says while it’s hardly ideal he is confident World Triathlon will be doing everything in its power to give the athletes a triathlon – keeping in mind that athlete safety is paramount.
“Going around the course and performing will still show the selectors you've peaked for the right event on the course, going well here regardless will put the athletes front of mind for the selectors.”
Atkins says driving the race bikes into the 2024 Olympic host city this week was a surreal moment.
“Driving into Paris we saw the Eiffel Tower and it became slightly surreal, knowing that the past two years has been dedicated to doing what we can, to be at our best and this race will test a lot of things for us,” said Atkins.
“Getting as much intelligence for this race will give us all the information we need, to then go away and firm our plans heading into next year’s Olympic Games.”
You can catch all the action from the Paris Test Event on TriathlonLive!
Elite Women | Thursday 17 August - 4PM AEDT
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Elite Men | Friday 18 August - 4PM AEDT