This weekend sees the much-anticipated return of Welsh triathlete Helen Jenkins, who has picked the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup in New Zealand for her first race since the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“It’s been a long time since I stood on a start line so I’m looking forward to this,” she said. “It will be good to get the first race done and experience all of the nerves and all of the excitement. I’ll see how this one goes and look forward to building on whatever performance I get.”
Jenkins has been away from the sport for nearly two years due to a knee injury she picked up in swim training shortly after winning the 2012 WTS race in San Diego. She went on to compete in the London Games that same year but struggled to perform at her usual level, eventually taking fifth place.
She will line up this Sunday alongside teammates including 2013 WTS runner-up Jodie Stimpson and fellow Olympians Vicky Holland and Lucy Hall. Their international rivals include Sarah Groff (US), who took fourth place ahead of Jenkins at London 2012, and home country favourite Andrea Hewitt.
Reigning women’s ITU world champion Non Stanford recently predicted that the return of Jenkins will change the WTS dynamic this year, with more races likely to be decided in the swim.
In the men’s race, reigning WTS champion Javier Gomez (ESP) takes top billing on Sunday against a four-strong British pack of Tom Bishop, Adam Bowden, Matt Sharp and Grant Sheldon. Spain’s Mario Mola will also be pushing hard, along with João Silva (POR) and Sven Riederer (SUI).
(Main image: Delly Carr/ITU)
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