Photo: World Triathlon
By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
The next, enthralling round of the Hayden Wilde-Alex Yee world title fight we’re all salivating over, the one where it goes down to the tape in Italy? Yeah, well, maybe cool your jets just a little, giddy Kiwi tri fans.
That’s the message from Wilde himself ahead of World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) Cagliari, live on Sky Sport 1 Pop-Up (channel 600) from 10.59pm Saturday*
The Kiwi No.1 is tempering expectations ahead of the third round of World Triathlon’s blue-riband series after battling jet lag following his season resurrecting romp to victory in Yokohama a fortnight ago. There’s also the not insignificant matter of a second standard distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run) race inside 15 days to mash in with all the travel.
The Whakatane 25-year-old also knows to focus solely on Yee, who opened the season with victory in Abu Dhabi before bypassing Japan, would be an utterly foolhardy strategy.
“It’s good to see Alex back on the start line. …he’ll be the freshest out of the top five [having only raced Abu Dhabi] so looking forward to seeing him up the front,” Wilde told Triathlon.kiwi from Sardinia.
“I’d say he’s had a pretty good block going from Portugal to here so he definitely should be on form if everything went right for him.
“Then obviously everyone else, Vasco [Vilaca] to Léo Bergere, Dorian Coninx, they’re always going to be the catalysts of a hard swim to a hard bike so we just need to make that front group before we can even start talking about it being the Alex Yee- Hayden battle.”
Fair enough. Mind you, it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of another Wilde-Yee sprint, especially given the fast circuit in Cagliari.
Recent stats point to a humdinger if that scenario plays out. Yee ran a 29.24 in the World Triathlon Finals in Abu Dhabi Finals last November, while Wilde had a run split of 29.30 in Yokohama.
Vilaca is also in quick step, stopping the clock at 29.24 in Yokohama – almost 40 seconds faster than Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) who is sure to come out swinging in Cagliari.
All Wilde can do, and has done courtesy of a stop-off at the Red Bull HQ in Fuschl, Austria en route to Cagliari, was prep as well as possible.
“Preparation post-Yokohama, it was pretty hard to have a good week due to jet lag and the long travel, coming over having kind of being used to New Zealand time but also slowly switching into Japan time zone. So it was pretty hard to get some sort of consistency throughout the week and the legs were pretty tired from the travel.
“I was in pretty good place in Salzburg and Fuschl where the Red Bull HQ is. They looked after me with physios, Doctors, recovery support, gym facilities and it’s just good training there as well. So it was a really good opportunity to relax and refocus and get the legs to where they need to be.
“Yeah, just looking forward to the challenge and just hope I can perform well and back up in another Olympic distance [race].”
*Check listings. Also live on Triathlonlive.tv