File photo courtesy World Triathlon
• World Triathlon confirm ‘2023 World Cup New Plymouth’ for March 26, 2023
• Tri Taranaki Festival back on world calendar after three-year pandemic hiatus
• New Zealand selected as opening event on World Triathlon’s 2023 World Cup calendar
Kiwi No.1 Hayden Wilde set to headline strong NZ team at Tri Taranaki Festival centrepiece
By Tri NZ
The crown jewel in Triathlon New Zealand’s bumper summer schedule has been confirmed with World Cup racing set to return to New Plymouth after a frustrating three-year, pandemic-enforced hiatus.
In-form Kiwi No.1 Hayden Wilde and fellow Tri NZ elite squad members Tayler Reid, Dylan McCullough, Nicole van der Kaay, Andrea Hansen, and Ainsley Thorpe are set to test their early-season pace against a bevy of the sport’s biggest international names at the March 26 showpiece.
Both the elite men’s and women’s races at ‘2023 World Cup New Plymouth’ will take the gun on the shores of Ngāmotu Beach and are to be raced over triathlon’s quickfire and spectator-friendly ‘sprint’ distance: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run. With Olympic Games qualification points for Paris 2024 on the line, the Kiwi contingent won’t be afforded the luxury of easing into the season at their home race, the centrepiece of the annual Tri Taranaki Festival.
In a further boon for the sport domestically, New Plymouth is the finale of an exciting summer triple-treat with Triathlon New Zealand Chief Executive Pete De Wet poised to announce two other big events, one each for the North and South Islands, in the coming days.
The promise of fast, world-class racing can’t come soon enough for Kiwi tri fans starved of international action due to COVID-19. New Plymouth was scheduled to return to the World Cup calendar last summer but on-going border restrictions scuppered that prospect with racing instead limited to a “domestic celebration of triathlon”.
“We are extremely excited to have a World Cup back in New Zealand,” said De Wet.
“It’s awesome that our elite athletes will have quality racing on home soil after their impressive performances around the globe in 2022 and equally gratifying that the tri-community and Kiwi sports fans, in general, will be able to watch our established stars and exciting new talent race at close quarters.
“I’m confident that the event will be well supported by other nations from around the world as they gear up for an important European summer of competition, so expect New Plymouth to be fast and furious.”
De Wet praised Tri Taranaki Festival Event Director Shanelle Barrett for her tireless work in tandem with World Triathlon, formerly the ITU, to secure New Plymouth’s return to the global circuit.
Barrett is likewise thrilled to bring one of the sport’s premier races to the Tri Taranaki Festival which has run since 2010. Entry to the World Cup race will be free for spectators while the festival’s support races include everything from the Tri NZ Suzuki Sprint Championships to the ‘Taranaki Tri-er’. The former is a qualifier for the World Triathlon Age-Group Sprint Championships in Hamburg, Germany next July while the latter is a perfect entry-level and fun-focused race (200m swim in waist deep water, 8km bike, 2km run) for those wanting to give the sport a go.
“After three years of the Tri Taranaki Festival weaving its way through the COVID environment, we are proud and excited to be bringing back a World Cup race to the shores of Ngāmotu Beach,” said Barrett.
“It will be the 11th time that a World Cup has been hosted in New Plymouth and it is an event that has something for everyone. It is through the support of Tri NZ and the Taranaki community that we will once again see first-time triathletes able to finish on the famous blue carpet, and then stay to watch the world-class international athletes competing for valuable points towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics.”
Tri NZ athletes Saxon Morgan, James Corbett, Janus Staufenberg, Lachlan Haycock, Trent Thorpe, Brea Roderick, Eva Goodisson, Olivia Thornbury, Hannah Knighton, Hannah Howell and Ainsley Thorpe have all competed on this year’s World Cup circuit and are expected to bring that experience to bear in New Plymouth.
Australia’s Luke Willian and Italian Angelica Olmo claimed gold in the men’s and women’s races the last time New Plymouth staged a World Cup race in 2019. Interestingly, a fresh-faced Wilde was fourth and second Kiwi home behind Sam Ward in the men’s race while van der Kaay was 7th in a women’s top-10 also including current Aussie star Emma Jeffcoat (5th).
Wilde has gone on to claim Olympic bronze in Tokyo and a still-disputed silver medal at July’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The Whakatane 25-year-old has continued his rich vein of form in 2022 by racing to the summit of both the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) and Super League Triathlon (SLT) standings as the 2022 season reaches its climax.
Just two events – Cagliari (Oct.8) and Bermuda (Nov. 5-6) – remain before the WTCS Finals in Abu Dhabi (Nov. 24-26) in what is World Triathlon’s premier championship.
Reid and van der Kaay, meanwhile, are 4th and 8th in the men’s and women’s standings respectively with just two rounds of the SLT to race: Super League Toulouse (France) on Oct. 2 and Super League Neom (Saudi Arabia) on Oct. 29.
Wilde, who enjoys a near unassailable lead atop the men’s Super League standings, was beaten to Commonwealth Games gold by British rival Alex Yee after receiving a 10-second penalty for unclipping his helmet before docking his bike during the cycle-to-run transition in Birmingham.
Tri NZ has appealed the ruling and resulting penalty on Wilde’s behalf after the Kiwi No.1 was forced to yield to Yee on the home straight of the run, robbing the Birmingham crowd and TV audiences around the world of a sprint finish.
Neither Wilde nor Tri NZ want Yee relegated, rather for Wilde and Yee to share the gold medal. Tri NZ awaits World Triathlon’s appeal ruling.
Confirmed World Triathlon races for 2023
2023 World Triathlon Championship Series
May 13-14: Yokohama, JPN (Olympic distance)
Jul 15-16: Hamburg, GER (Sprint & Mixed Relay World Championships)
Jul 29-30: Sunderland, GBR (Sprint distance & Mixed Relay)
Sep 23-24: Pontevedra, ESP (Olympic distance)
2023 Mixed Relay
July 15-16: Hamburg, GER (Mixed Relay World Championships)
July 29-20: Sunderland, GBR
2023 World Triathlon Cup
26 March – New Plymouth, NZL (Sprint)
June 17-18: Huatulco, MEX (Sprint)
Sept 9-10: Karlovy Vary, CZE (Olympic distance)
Oct 29-30: Miyazaki, JPN (Olympic distance)
2023 Para Triathlon
Sept 23-24: Pontevedra, ESP – Para triathlon World Championships
March 18-19: Devonport, AUS – World Triathlon Para Series
May 13-14: Yokohama, JPN – World Triathlon Para Series
July 15: Swansea, GBR – World Triathlon Para Series
June 10-11: A Coruna, ESP – World Triathlon Para Cup
June 17-18: Besancon, FRA – World Triathlon Para Cup
March 25-26: Skeikampen, NOR – Winter Triathlon World Championships
29 April – 7 May: Ibiza, ESP – World Triathlon Multisport Championships
NB: The following calendar is not final, with more events to be announced in the coming weeks.