Wednesday, March 6, 2019, 02:20 AM GMT
Bahrain Endurance 13 Team Olympic hopefuls head to Abu Dhabi for the start of the World Triathlon Series. Vicky Holland, Vincent Luis, Ashleigh Gentle, and Ben Kanute are set to compete across the sprint distance in the elite individual event, and are major contenders for selection into their nations’ respective mixed relay teams in the event’s debut in Abu Dhabi.
While the members of the mixed relay team for each nation are yet to be announced, each of these athletes have figured in ITU Mixed Relay World Championship golds in the past: Luis for France in 2018, Gentle for Australia in the 2017 edition, Kanute for the USA in 2016, and Holland for Great Britain in 2014.
Abu Dhabi will be Holland’s first race of the season and as a Bahrain Endurance 13 team member, but the reigning world champion will be looking to improve on her 11th-placed performance from last year on the Yas Island course.
Gentle and Luis took the respective women’s and men’s crowns at the final WTS race on the Gold Coast last year. Along with Kanute, they already have some racing under their belts this year thanks to Super League Triathlon.
Gentle overcame a crash last year on the rain-slicked Formula 1 track used as bike course to finish 13th, and hopes to do better. “Looking forward to giving course a good go because it’s a super fast and fun race,” she says. “Feeling pretty good coming off a solid training camp in New Zealand for the past seven weeks which has included a lot of bike miles, base work in the pool and run to set up for long season ahead.” Gentle has already qualified for the test event in Tokyo, which relieves the pressure in racing here. She will make the most of the opportunity to race the World Series and potentially the mixed relay.
Luis placed third here last year in what would become a breakthrough season, and will be looking to improve on that placement as he sets his eyes on the top ranking and Olympic selection.
Kanute, who races formats as short as super sprint all the way up to middle distance, will find his versatility and explosive speed called upon again. He says, “Super League Triathlon has the legs primed and ready to go. Excited to get back on the F1 track and have another opportunity to race.”