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Swim, Run, Ride-A-Bike – Hamburg Gets ready

  • August 20th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

triathlon-two.jpgThe city of Hamburg is set to be transformed into an enormous multi-sport festival this month, when the World Triathlon Championships take place — for the first time in Germany.

Sarah West did some homework to write this preview for EUAustralia.

A LONG TRADITION

At the end of August Hamburg will see the latest installment in a long tradition of athletic, even military-style prowess.

As the legend goes, Napoleon Bonaparte was concerned that long intervals between battles would result in his army becoming sluggish and, in order to prevent such a thing from occurring, compelled his troops to compete in three concurrent sporting activities.

Winner of the set (“les trios sports“) was named ultimate athlete in the French armed forces.

EIGHT THOUSAND ATHLETES FROM SIXTY COUNTRIES

If the story is wholly true this is how the sport of Triathlon was born, the famous three-way challenge in swimming, cycling and running.

It’s developed into an event now practiced worldwide and at every level including the Olympic Games, and this time it’s expected that eight thousand athletes from more than sixty countries will attend these 2007 championships — combining both junior and elite competition.

AUSTRALIANS IN THE ELITE MEN’S

Australia has always produced strong triathletes, and is once again poised to ferociously contest the world title and regain some former dominance in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

In the elite men’s category experienced campaigners Brad Kahlefeldt and Courtney Atkinson will be leading the charge.

Kahlefeldt is feeling good about his chances. With four podium finishes this year in the triathlon World Cup series, including a win in its Australian round (in Mooloolaba), he is ready to give the best performance of his career, so far.

“My preparation has been going well. I have been training hard in France and my form has come on in the last few weeks.

“I feel strong in all three disciplines,” Brad Kahlefeldt, from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

His biggest threat is likely to be Spanish world number one Javier Gomez, and although he admits the Spaniard is a formidable opponent, he says he’s adapted his own style to be competitive when the race for the world title begins.

“He has had a great season this year and last, and we have had some close races.

“My training has changed a little to prepare myself for his style of racing.”

And it seems competing against the very best is what motivates the current world number four.

“He (Gomez) is a strong competitor and I enjoy racing him. It takes everyone up to another level,” he says.

ELITE WOMEN’S ALSO

As for the women’s elite competition, Australia’s Emma Snowsill knows what it’s like to be the best in the world.

Snowsill has already won three world championship crowns and is the highest awarded female in the history of Modern Triathlon.

She too will take some great form into the event in Hamburg, having already achieved first and second place finishes this year in the World Cup.

If history is anything to go by, Snowsill will be very hard to beat when world’s best swim-ride-and-runners take their places on the starting line at Hamburg.

Picture: Australian triathlete Brad Kahlefeldt is ready for an assault on the World Championships Crown. www.bradkahlefeldt.com

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