Wilde set to soar at season opener

New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde is ready to soar in the World Triathlon Cup season opener in Napier.

The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist and World No 2 is a firm favourite to claim victory and also qualify to represent New Zealand in the next Olympic Games in Paris this year.

Wilde is likely to be pressed hard by Portugal’s Ricardo Batista, a sprint-distance specialist known for his gutsy performances.

Batista earned the silver medal in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Tongyeong at the end of last season, followed by fifth place in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup in Miyazaki.

New Zealand’s rising star Dylan McCullough, who earned his first world cup medal in 2023, showed off fantastic form last weekend, claiming the silver in the 2024 Oceania Triathlon Cup in Wanaka and is a young gun to keep a close eye on.

United States athlete Gina Sereno headlines the women’s field.

Sereno claimed impressive silvers in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Vina del Mar in November and the 2023 Santiago Pan American Games.

China’s Xinyu Lin produced a string of fantastic results to close out the 2023 season including silver in the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games and second in the 2023 Asia Triathlon Sprint Championships.

Lin lines up in Napier as one of the favourites in the sprint-distance race.

New Zealand will be strongly represented in team events with Ainsley Thorpe, Brea Roderick, Olivia Thornbury, Eva Goodisson, Olivia Cummings, Hannah Howell and Amara Rae.

While New Zealand is well known for staging triathlon races, this will be the inaugural World Triathlon Cup for Napier.