Aileen Reid, Bryan Keane and Ben Shaw are guaranteed starts for the ‘world’s biggest triathlon’, the Hamburg World Triathlon Series on Saturday. The festival of triathlon will see 10,000 age group athletes racing alongside the top elites with 300,000 spectators and a global TV audience from 160 countries watching on.
Aileen Reid will be returning to the scene where she had a breakthrough race with a bronze medal back in 2010. On this occasion the race will take place over the sprint distance with the 750m one lap swim starting from the raised quay. After some 200 meters there is a 90 degree right-hand turn to negotiate around a swim buoy, with 67 athletes in both the men’s and women’s race this is set to be a chaotic section making a fast opening 200 meters in the swim vital.
Once the two turn buoys are negotiated it’s a straight line swim back to the transition, however features another interesting section as athletes make their way through a 40 meter long pitch black tunnel.
Once out of the water the bike course consists of six 3.33km laps making up the 20 kilometres.
“Hamburg is a fast and technical bike course with narrow streets right in the heart of the city. There are no notable climbs but the dead turns and tight corners will really take it out of your legs before the run.” Commented Triathlon Ireland’s Technical Director and former professional cyclist Tommy Evans.
The run again is a city centre affair consisting of two 2.5km laps and four 180 degree turns making Jonny Brownlee’s 14min 14second 5 kilometre split from 2013 all the more impressive.
In the women’s race Derry native Aileen Reid will line up wearing number 21 with U23 World Champion Charlotte McShane to her right and former Spanish Champion Ainhoa Murua to her left. Reid had a relatively slow start to the season by her standards but her form has been coming good with an 8th place finish in the London World Triathlon Series over 1 month ago an indication of that.
Reid has been training hard in the French Mountain Resort of Avoriaz for the past 3 weeks and will be hoping that her preparations will come to fruition this weekend but more importantly on the 24th of July at the Commonwealth Games.
In the men’s race Ireland will be represented by Bryan Keane and Ben Shaw. Keane goes into the race as the top ranked Irishman as he wears number 22 and will line up alongside a former World Triathlon Series race winner and local favourite, Steffen Justus of Germany.
Keane finished 22nd in his last World Series outing in Chicago but is targeting an improvement on that and a jump up the series rankings.
Irish team-mate Ben Shaw has been disappointed with his last two outings where he punctured while in a great position on the bike at the European Championships and suffered in the blistering heat while on the 10 kilometre run during the Chicago World Triathlon Series.
This weekend Shaw lines up wearing number 34 but will have his eyes set on a finishing position far higher than his starting rank. Shaw has been training for the past number of weeks in the National Aquatic Centre, venturing into the Wicklow Mountains for bike training and Dublin’s Phoenix Park for his run training.
Conor Murphy faces a nervous wait as he is first in line on the waiting list for a race start.
Watch the women’s race on Saturday from 3:18pm Irish time followed by the men’s race at 5:18pm. Both races will be televised live on the BBC Red Button and via triathlonlive.tv