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Van Coevorden Dreaming Big in Cagliari Ahead of Paris Test Event

Van Coevorden Dreaming Big in Cagliari Ahead of Paris Test Event

After a decade of racing the best on the World Triathlon Championship Series, Natalie Van Coevorden knows that things on the sport’s biggest stage don’t always go according to plan.

This Saturday’s WTCS race in Cagliari will see the 30-year-old from Sydney’s south-west take another step towards what she hopes will see that dream come true - the 2024 Olympic Games.

Only 12 Australian women have worn the cherished green and gold triathlon suit in the Olympic arenas since the sport’s historic debut in Sydney 2000.

Van Coevorden has long overcome the disappointment of missing out on Tokyo in 2021 and has been determined to do everything in her powers ever since to join that select group.

She’s setting herself for this year’s all-important Olympic Test Event in Paris in August 17-18, knowing full-well what she must do to gain automatic selection - finish in the top eight.

“My mindset around the Test Event is something that I would like to think I have worked on since the last Test Event in Tokyo,” said Van Coevorden.

“I know I want to keep things simple because now more than ever I feel like I have clear objectives in mind.

“Every race I have done over the past few years and the consistency I know I can deliver are key pieces to the puzzle for me to get to Paris in 2024.

“It is something that I would like to continue to work on, building into the top 10 in the lead up to the Test Event - the first glance of ‘what could be’ next year and I would like to keep pushing to be a part of that small select group of people.”

Van Coevorden has been settled in Cagliari, capital of the autonomous Italian island of Sardina, with training partner Kira Hedgeland since her last WTCS outing in Yokohama, which saw her finish a determined and fast-finishing 14th.

Van Coevorden and Hedgeland are the only two Australians in Saturday’s 55-strong women’s field that includes 16 of the top 20 women in the world as well as Rio Olympic and two-time World Champion Gwen Jorgensen, who continues her return to the Elite ranks. 

“Mentally for me, I went into Yokohama with a focussed mindset and going off my swimming last year, I knew that I could put myself in the best position possible to be in the front group,” said Van Coevorden

“When I missed it by a few seconds, I knew I had to adapt in the moment because the race was not over, so I put my focus into my positioning on the bike and working hard to minimise the gap in the terrible conditions that we had.

“There is always something to fight for and I think I showed that to myself on the run.

“My consistency is something I pride myself on and that is linked with always having a Plan B.”

Van Coevorden says that being in Girona, Spain for the past four months has added to a sense of stability in training and her life based around training.

“It has been nice to have a home and be fully committed to my new environment because that’s how I feel I get the most of it,” said Van Coevorden.

“The past month has been exciting as we have added in key race sessions once again and I have seen big improvements from where I was physically and mentally in February.

“Moving squads (with Joel Filiol) has been a new stimulus that I am enjoying and has given me more confidence to execute key sessions solo or as a group. 

“Currently, we are switching in and out of Girona and altitude-based camps (in Font Romeu) over the next few months.”

While two of Australia’s emerging men, Brandon Copeland and Callum McClusky, will continue their initiations into the world of the WTCS, with the likes of Jake Birtwhistle and Luke Willian racing in the Oceania Triathlon Cup and Championships in Port Douglas this Saturday.

It’s a men’s race that sees six of the nine podium finishers from the past three Olympic Games on the start line – the gold, silver and bronze winners from Tokyo 2021 – Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), Alex Yee (GBR) and Hayden Wilde (NZL); silver and bronze medallists from Rio in 2016 – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) and Henri Schoeman (RSA) and Brownlee the bronze medallist from London 2012.

Catch all the action live on on Saturday 27 May starting at 7:00 PM AEST for the women's race and 10:29 PM AEST for the men's race. 

Team AUS

Natalie Van Coevorden
Kira Hedgeland
Brandon Copeland
Callum McClusky


Saturday 27 May, 7:00 PM AEST
Start List: Elite Women


Saturday 27 May, 10:29 PM AEST
Start List: Elite Men