Press Release – Triathlon New Zealand
For the 2019 World Triathlon Series Mixed Relay Edmonton event on 21st July a New Zealand team of six athletes has been named.
The team is Nicole van der Kaay, Ainsley Thorpe, Sophie Corbidge,Tayler Reid, Hayden Wilde and Sam Ward.
The athletes competing and the order the athletes compete in will be made by Triathlon New Zealand Selection Advisors following consultation with the athletes closer to the event.
In the Mixed Relay World Series this season the team have finished third in Abu Dhabi and seventh in Nottingham with Hamburg taking place on the 7th July. Hamburg is also the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships.
General Manager of Performance for Triathlon New Zealand Hamish Carter says that there has been a steep learning curve in Mixed Relay racing for the team so far this season. “For every Mixed Relay event there is very different dynamic which means that we are taking alot of learning away from each opportunity.”
The Mixed Relay Olympic test event in Tokyo is on August 18th after the World Series concludes.
Carter says that so far this season the team has been the same six core athletes and that the upcoming travel is a challenge with the team currently based in a training camp in Banyoles where they have been for a few seasons previously. The team will head to Hamburg, back to Spain onto Edmonton before heading back to Spain and then finishing up at the Mixed Relay Olympic test event in Tokyo on August 18th after the World Series concludes. “Its hard travelling for the team but we have to race all the event to give ourselves the best chance of qualifying.”
Sophie Corbidge says she is looking forward to heading back to Edmonton “Edmonton is a stop on the WTS circuit I have visited several times, and I enjoy the race location. It is different to anywhere else I have competed, which makes it an interesting experience. As always, I am delighted to represent New Zealand alongside my fellow kiwi friends.”
Sam Ward is looking forward to heading back to Canada for the World Triathlon Series and Mixed Relay event. “Edmonton is one of the only courses with a good hill in it which can split up the bunch and be a good opportunity for a breakaway. I also like that it’s a fast run course.”
Hayden Wilde says he is “absolutely fizzing” to be selected for the team for Edmonton and that even being a reserve on this team is an achievement. “The calibre of male athletes New Zealand at the moment is extremely strong with most of the guys in the team posting the fastest times in Nottingham on their legs in the race. Edmonton is also very special to me as it was my Mixed Relay WTS debut and crossing the line in 3rd place for the team was the best feeling.”
Nicole van der Kaay says that she Edmonton has great memories for her. “The Mixed Relay event in Edmonton was very special for me last year so we are looking forward to do something similar this time around.”
Tayler Reid is excited to named in the team for Edmonton again this year. “Last year we had such a great performance as a team, so it’s a course that suits us and to be on the podium so that was amazing. This year we know that we are capable of being there so hopefully we can improve on last years position.”
Nicole van der Kay
Nicole was attracted to triathlon for its variety and capacity to absorb her boundless energy.
Last year saw Nicole’s best results include a fourth place finish in the ITU Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast and podiums at various other ITU events.
Orginally from Taupo, van der Kaay is currently studying towards a BSc in Psychology and is based in Cambridge.
Ainsley Thorpe comes from a strong sporting family and is from Auckland but is currently based in Cambridge. Ainsley had her first World Cup Race in 2018 and has been a key part of New Zealand’s success in the mixed relay format.
Sophie lives and trains in Cambridge and comes from an 800m athletics background, so thrives in short-distance events like the mixed relay.
Sophie is also studying a Post Grad Diploma of Teaching at Waikato University and works in social media.
Tayler is the current U23 World Triathlon Champion having taken out the title at the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final on the Gold Coast. Tayler is originally from Gisborne but currently resides in Cambridge with the High Performance Team. Tayler is also doing his Business Degree via Massey University.
Sam is the 2019 NZ Triathlon Champion and currently ranked 12th in the world. Sam grew up in Auckland in a family that has always had a passion for endurance sport. He has been living and training in Cambridge with the NZ team for the last 4 years.
Hayden comes from a long distance off road background and has raced the Coast to Coast, Xterra and has been the ITU Cross Tri U23 World Champion. Hayden is originally from Whakatane but currently trains in Tauranga. He made the change to ITU triathlon to chase his dreams to compete at the Olympic Games. In 2 years he has dropped his world ranking into the top 60.
About Triathlon Mixed Relay
International Triathlon Union’s Mixed Relay format has brought racing at its most thrilling, where the individual sport combines with pure team spirit. Athletes must complete a super-sprint triathlon – 300m swim, 6.6km bike and 1km run – before tagging off to a teammate, always in the order female-male-female-male. Among the most exciting aspects of these races for spectators is the athletes’ dramatic sprint and dive after being tagged by their teammate, as well as the intensity and speed from start to finish, the tight back-and-forth lead changes and team pride that this racing format elicits.
The entertaining format of Mixed Relay has been included in major games programs such as the Youth Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.