Athletes chatter ahead of #WTSAbuDhabi

Athletes chatter ahead of #WTSAbuDhabi

By Olalla Cernuda on 28/02/18 at 11:46 am

More than 100 elite athletes will kick off the WTS season this Friday in 2018 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi. In one of the most thrilling races in ITU history, with eight out of the top 10 male athletes and nine of the best 10 women triathletes from last year lining-up in the Yas Marina circuit. To get the season underway the first WTS press conference was held, so let’s hear what some of the stars of the race have to say about it:

Vicky Holland (GBR)
On her victory in Cape Town World Cup after returning from an injury: “Cape Town was my first race in nine months so I was a little bit worried, but it was very nice to be back racing, and especially with a victory.”

On her feelings at the beginning of the season: “This is the perfect place to start the season, with most of the top athletes being here. Probably it has something to do with the Commonwealth Games coming soon. It will definitely be the place to test ourselves before that.”

Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR)
On his season in 2017. “It was great last year, especially last part of the season. I want to start 2018 the way I finished last year.”

On his thoughts on the course. “I’ve been in Abu Dhabi twice, I have raced both downtown and last year here in the Yas Marina circuit, and I really lsetupis set up.”

On training for this season. “I’ve been on the elite field for four years now, and I’ve been able to keep the momentum and stay injury free. The training during this winter has been really good so I hope to start the season alright.”

Andrea Hewitt.(NZL)
On her inspiring victory in Abu Dhabi last year. “I’ve been in Abu Dhabi a few times, but definitely, last year was very special. I don’t feel the extra pressure but It’s a little bit different this year as I’m involved in a few activities here since last Monday. I was helping and training with some kids and young triathletes from the Middle East, and it is really great to be supporting also the age group races.”

On her role promoting the development of triathlon in the Middle East. “It is really great to be able to support those kids, more than 500 kids will do the kids triathlon here, and being a role model for them. Makes me think about when I did my first ever triathlon, back in 2005.”

Mario Mola (ESP)
On returning to Abu Dhabi to op en the season:“I really like this place, I love to race here and I really want to try this circuit. I have been training really well this winter to prepare for this race, and I’m really excited to be here.”

On his stunning season in 2017. “Last season was amazing, and I will definitely sign for another season like that one now. Every year we have new challenges, you have to train very hard and see where you are at compared to your competitors.”

On how does it feel to be the world best athlete. “As I said, 2017 was a great year and I think Rotterdam Grand Final was a good performance for me as well. That gives me extra motivation for this year.”

Jonathan Brownlee.(GBR)
On him coming back to Abu Dhabi: “It’s been a while since my last time he truly was back in 2015. I am truly excited to be here again.”

On his thoughts of this unique course, the Yas Marina Circuit: “One of the greatest things about the World Triathlon Series is that you get to race in some amazing places, stunning cities, but to race on a Formula 1 track is something very special and something I haven’t done before. as a massive sports fan, to race here is really cool. And the course is very technical on the bike so hopefully, I can perform great on Friday.”

On preparations for the Commonwealth Games: “I’m flying to Australia right after the race here in Abu Dhabi to get ready also for the Commonwealth Games. Being British, those Games are a very big event for us so this Friday is gonna be a great test for a lot of us racing here.”

Ashleigh Gentle.(AUS)
On starting her season being ranked second in the world in 2017: “Last year was a great year for me. I have been the bridesmaid a quick a few times in World Series races. So to come away with a victory in Montreal was obviously a massive highlight for me. It’s nice to be back in Abu Dhabi as well, I wasn’t here last year so I wasn’t able to experience the F1 track. I was here two years ago, but I wanted to come back and start my season and just like Jonathan and a lot of other athletes I wanted to test myself with the best in the world and see what I can do in six weeks time.”

On the Commonwealth Games being in her home nation:“It’s been really exciting, I can remember the countdown from like three or four years ago when Gold Coast first got elected to host the event. Its such a big thing for our city. Its really great to be a part of that for the whole way through it and to think its only six weeks away is crazy, it has gone by so fast! I am really looking forward to testing myself on Friday and also just pushing these last few weeks to see what I can do in front of my home crowd. I know its such a unique experience and I really just want to make sure I embrace it and soak it all up”

On racing in the first WTS of the season: “This is definitely the first big test of the year. I did a local race just to put the swim, bike and run together. But training has been really consistent and each day I have given it my all and I have gone to bed knowing I trained as hard as I could and we’ll see how I fair on Friday when I race against all the other women, but I think I am in a good head place knowing I have done some consistent work and where I can improve before the Commonwealth Games.”

Find more details about this event - 2018 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi