The world tour continues as Aileen Reid, Bryan Keane, Ben Shaw and Conor Murphy move to Australia’s Gold Coast for round 3 of the World Triathlon Series.
The Gold Coast will play host to a stacked field of 59 women and 66 men all vying for top finishes as the race for the World Title and Olympic Qualification heats up.
Gwen Jorgenson goes into the women’s race as the overwhelming favourite as she looks to extend her WTS winning run to eight races, almost a full calendar year unbeaten. It seems as though the America star can win from anywhere but has noticeably improved her swimming and biking skills over the past year making her almost impossible to beat.
London Olympian, Aileen Reid started her season in Adu Dhabi finishing 24th but progressed in Auckland with a 15th place finish. That leaves her sitting 17th in the series and hence 17th on the Gold Coast start pontoon. The Derry native posted a speedy run split last time out and has top 10 potential this weekend.
On the men’s side the winner is more difficult to predict as any one of about eight athletes have a realistic chance. Among them is Auckland WTS winner Jonny Brownlee, Spanish World Champion Javier Gomez and another Spaniard and Abu Dhabi WTS winner Mario Mola.
Being raced over the Olympic Distance of a 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run it will favour those who prefer endurance over the pure speed required for the sprint distance.
Wearing the green suit of Ireland, Conor Murphy goes into the race as the top ranked athlete and will line up wearing number 29. The Armagh native will be eager to beat his starting number after what he described as a “poor performance” in Auckland.
Cork man Bryan Keane will line up just a few places to the right wearing number 33, alongside Russian swim powerhouse Dmitry Polyanskiy. That may offer Keane an advantage if he can get on the toes of the eldest Polyanskiy brother and benefit from a draft to the first turn buoy.
Ben Shaw rounds out the Irish team wearing number 47. Shaw lines up alongside another swim specialist in the form of Tommy Zaferes of the USA, a formidable duo if they can work together and avoid impeding each other in the washing machine of a WTS swim start.
The women’s race gets under way at 2:06am Saturday morning (Irish time) followed by the men’s race at 5:06am.
Follow the action live via www.triathlonlive.tv or the BBC Red Button or catch the highlights on BBC2, Sunday 1:20pm.