Comment: Rio 2016 test events may throw a spanner in the works for next year’s WTS schedule

220 columnist Tim Heming says South American sojourn will add to athletes’ travel expenses, but stunning setting should definitely whet appetite for Olympics

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Following this morning’s news that triathlon’s test events for the Rio 2016 Olympics will take place on 1-2 August next year, 220 columnist Tim Heming offers his thoughts…

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It’s clearly not been easy to secure a date and fix the course for the necessary test event for Rio and the ITU are cutting it fine.

They have ensured it will be a strong field by making it a Level 1 Olympic qualifier, but ideally this race would have been confirmed at the end of the summer so it could take its rightful place in the World Series.

Instead, it will now not be part of the Series, and has been crowbarred in alongside the 10 existing events, up from eight in 2013 and seven from 2012.

It really throws a spanner in for preplanned World Series schedules, splitting up the three European races and adding to the extensive and expensive travel from Abu Dhabi to Australasia, Japan, Europe and North America.

On the plus side, we really are now witnessing a global series and athletes do not have to compete in every ITU event and can still gain maximum World Series or Olympic qualification points.

What it will do is whet the appetite for 2016. The Copacabana backdrop will offer some stunning vistas and let’s hope the course throws in enough challenging hills on the bike to make it a real test.

It’s an equally exciting time for Paratriathlon, a debut test event, ahead of a debut games, whose crusading competitors will relish the opportunity.

It doesn’t seem many months since thousands crammed into Hyde Park for one of the spectacles of 2012. With this announcement, Rio has been brought fully into focus. It’s set to be a busy and intriguing year of racing. Let the fun and Games begin.

(Main image: Mteixeira62)

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