Photos: @nicolevdkaay

By Kent Gray/
After a false start to the season at what proved an ”expensive…glorified coffee stop” at cancelled WTCS Abu Dhabi, Nicole van der Kaay finally gets to measure her early season form in Portugal in the early hours of Sunday NZT.

The Kiwi No.1 is part of a bumper field for Europe Triathlon Cup Quarteira with Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA), Lisa Tertsch (GER), Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), Luxenberg’s Jeanne Lehair, Rachel Klammer (NED), Yuko Takahashi (JPN) and Switzerland’s Cathia Schär all taking on the standard distance race in the coastal Algarve region town.

Triathlonlive.TV is to provide live coverage from 1.45pm Saturday local time (2:45am Sunday NZT) but has notified there will be only Portuguese commentary.

Like all the aforementioned names and Kiwi team-mate Ainsley Thorpe, Van der Kaay was looking forward to racing in the UAE capital, only to be left frustrated when government authorises cancelled the opening round of World Triathlon’s premier global circuit due to forecasts of inclement weather.

It robbed her of the chance to discover how her New Year training regime in Portugal under new Estonian coach Paulo Sousa had played out.  

“Glorified coffee stop, one expensive recovery week in AD,” the Taupo 28-year-old said on social media after WTCS Abu Dhabi was called off.

“Not many pictures taken, more enjoying sharing laughs & good food with athletes I haven’t seen in a minute! Onto the next, let’s hope we get more bang for our buck.”

Given the unusually high quality of the Quarteira field, Van der Kaay is at least guaranteed a tough hit out as she builds into the last part of her Paris Olympic Games campaign.

Before Abu Dhabi she wrote:  “First foundation layer complete, off to Abu Dhabi to test the engines (& see one of my favorite 🥝’s).

“More volume & less intensity than my old-usual, loving the new-usual. Race fitness is an unknown, we keep to the plan & have some fun regardless!”

Earlier she’d talked of training in the company of the likes of American star Taylor Spivey and Brit Kate Waugh.

“Clocking up the biggest 5 week block of my life, not many pics to show for it. More just living in the simplicity of eat, train, sleep repeat!

“Feeling far from any form, humbled on the daily by some fierce ladies, but I’ll keep on showing up 🙃 #risengrind.”

On Saturday she’ll show up in Quarteira and put up the first marker of 2024. The eventual result and numbers will be fascinating for all those in NVDK’s camp to digest.

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