Photos: World Triathlon

By Kent Gray/
Watch for Ainsley Thorpe to emerge from the Mediterranean sea nearer the pointy end of the pack if all goes to plan in Saturday’s standard distance race at WTCS Cagliari.

The Cambridge-based 26-year-old enters the final event of the two-year Paris Olympic Games qualification period determined to eclipse her most recent result, 22nd at WTCS Yokohama on May 11.

Thorpe’s confidence is born of the great and not so good parts of her race in Japan where a personal best 10km split of 34:28 helped camouflage the 51 seconds she gave up to the leaders out of the water.

“My swim wasn’t ideal and I will be making sure I do better in Cagliari,” Thorpe told

“I wasn’t out quick enough and got caught up in the washing machine as people call it. I think with Cagliari I’m going to be a lot more focused on getting out fast to the first buoy.”

RELATED: Reid 3.0 ready for ‘hurt box’ in last chance Paris push

If Thorpe can achieve the first part of her plan, she’s hopeful her improved run will cement a confidence boosting result in her final race before a likely second Olympics appearance in Paris.

“I was stoked to take over a minute off my fastest 10km run split to finish a solid 22nd in only my 5th standard WTCS,” said Thorpe, referencing her 35:30 split en route to 17th place at last August’s Olympic Test Event in Paris.

“I’m happy that my summer block of running has gone well and I think I still have room for more in the next couple of months.

“I’ve just been consistent with my run load each week and adding in long steady efforts into my long runs.”

Team-mate Nicole van der Kaay will also be hoping for a vastly improved swim in Sardinia after an inexplicable off day in Yokohama. The Taupo 28-year-old was at a loss to explain her 41st placing which included a swim just four seconds faster than Thorpe but a none of her trademark pep on the run which returned a 36:31 split.

“Tired with nothing to give,” van der Kaay wrote on social media afterwards.

“Pretty down, as I hate to disappoint and not often am I unable to push in the run, but that’s the game sometimes.

“Already back in Spain hoping to find some heat and spark. Two weeks to try freshen up & make a difference. Thank you for the incredible support, appreciated you guys 🤍.”

The women’s race in Cagliari is scheduled for 8:45pm Saturday NZT.

It will be shown live on and Sky Sport Select – Channel 50. The men’s race, featuring Kiwis Hayden Wilde in his WTCS season bow and Tayler Reid in his last ditch bid for Paris selection, is also on and on Sky Sport 9 – Channel 59 from 1am Sunday NZT.

Listings are subject to change. Please check listings.

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