By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Janus Staufenberg hopes another week to acclimate in Austria will help him kick on from the encouraging start to his rapid-fire European racing block.
The Dunedin-based, Wanaka 23-year-old was the best of the Kiwi males in 9th at European Cup Kitzbühel last weekend, a result that, while not earth-shattering, wasn’t too shabby either considering he’d only landed in Europe the previous Monday.
Now 217km north-east in Wels, Staufenberg finds himself second-seed – just behind German Simon Henseleit and just ahead of Kiwi team-mate Saxon Morgan – for the second of what he hopes will be five races over successive weekends.
It comes after an Oceania summer of steady progression for Staufenberg, highlighted by a silver medal at Oceania Cup Wanaka and 10th place at World Cup New Plymouth.
“A good starting point for me which has me fired up for this weekend,” Staufenberg told Triathlon.kiwi of his Kitzbühel to Wels transition.
“[Kitzbühel] for me overall was good, a solid first hit out just coming straight out of NZ winter. Had a good swim but unfortunately, a bit of a break formed up the road so had to put some solid work in over the first few laps [of the bike].
“Felt comfortable and strong transitioning to the run and the first lap went well. Unfortunately, the second [and last] lap, the legs didn’t want to play game. Maybe still some travel in the legs with only getting into Europe on Monday.”
Staufenberg and his partner and fellow Otago Medical Student Olivia Thornbury have matching European campaigns with European Cup Holton in The Netherlands next weekend and World Cup Tiszaujvaros in Hungary on July 8-9. Beyond that, both are on the waitlist and hopeful of individual starts at the World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships in Hamburg (July 13-16).
The duo are among seven Kiwi elites racing European Cup Wels early Sunday NZT.
Cantabrian Morgan, ranked 3rd seed, will make his European season bow while Lachlan Haycock will be out to better his 35th last weekend. Thornbury, 6th in Kitzbühel and like Staufenberg the second seed for Wels, is joined on the women’s start list by Eva Goodisson and Hannah Howell, 16th and 37th respectively last weekend and 5th and 11th seeds for Wels, while Cambridge’s Hannah Knighton is poised for her first race of the European summer. Knighton is the 6th seed.
New Zealand is also well represented in the Junior (U19) races in Wels with Sophie Spencer and Oceania Junior Sprint Champion Hannah Prosser 1st and 2nd seeds respectively for the girls’ race and Ben Airey and Finnley Oliver ranked 2nd and 4th in the boys.