When your an Olympic bronze medalist and Commonwealth Games silver medalist, it seems clear that you’ll be more than a little motivated to move up on the podium. New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde is certainly determined to do just that in Paris next year, but he’s also got his eyes set on competing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship that will take place in his hometown of Taupo next December.
With that in mind, he’s on the start list for Ironman 70.3 Melbourne next week, and will test out his time trial biking skills ahead of that with the non-drafting, Olympic-distance race here at the Noosa Triathlon.
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“I’m feeling really good, it’s nice to be back on the Oceanian side of the world with the nice warm weather,” said Wilde. “I think the jetlag has passed its last days so I’m feeling really good and ready to go, and just super excited to get on the TT bike to be honest.”
While Wilde arrives as the prohibitive favourite, he’s anticipating that he’ll trail after the swim and will have his work cut out for him against this strong field.
You can follow the triathlon action live on Ironman’s YouTube channel. The race begins at 6:15 am local time, which will be 4:15 pm EST (1:15 pm PST) on Saturday, Nov. 4.
“It’s going to be a tough, I think 90% of the guys that are racing the short course are all swimmers, you’ve got Henri (Schoeman), Matt (Hauser), Jamie (Riddle), and all those guys, so the swim is going to be quite crucial for me to at least be as close as possible to those guys,” he said. “But I think you can win or lose this race hugely on the bike, it’s 40 km, it’s non drafting, it’s down my alleyway so it’s going to be the first opportunity that I get to race these guys and not tow them up the road this time, so looking forward to just doing my own thing on the bike and trying to get away and then hopefully setting up for a really nice run at the end.”
Australian Olympian Matt Hauser is certainly another to watch tomorrow.
“I’m feeling really excited most of all. It’s actually my first time competing in the main event, having previously taken part in the Ocean Swim, Noosa Bolt and Legends Triathlon,” said Hauser. “I’ve always loved being a part of the weekend for the past nine years, and in giving the respect this iconic race deserves, I felt I needed to be 100% fit and ready to tackle this course not only just to take part but to try and win. I’ve spent a few weeks on the time trial bike for the first time and I feel pretty dialled in, which I’m excited about and just exploring the unknown.
“Overall the body feels ready for a break to be honest but this race has been motivating me for quite some time now, especially with the level of competition heading up to the Sunny Coast this year,” he said. “It’s awesome to have international talent coming to race and experience this iconic course which us Aussies know and love so well. I’ll hopefully be looking to defend the home court advantage and have one last big push for the year.”
Another in the field to watch includes defending champ Charlie Quin, who surprised many with his win here last year.
“I’m feeling good, a bit nervous being defending champion but training has been going well so I’m excited to get out there,” said Quin. “It was a dream come true, a day I will never forget. The atmosphere at Noosa is always special so I can’t wait to go back. Being the 40th year I hope us elites can put on a good show for everybody.”
Another Olympian racing is Australia’s Jake Birtwhistle.
“I’m really excited to be racing again in 2023, Noosa is one of my favourite races on the calendar so it’s a great race to end my season,” said Birtwhistle. “Noosa Tri is so different to any other race I do throughout the year, with events all through the week by the time Sunday morning comes around I can’t wait to get out in course with the thousands of other competitors with the hope to lead them back into town.”
Here’s the men’s pro start list for tomorrow’s race.
31 Hayden Wilde MALE NZL
32 Matt Hauser MALE AUS
33 Charlie Quin MALE AUS
34 Jake Birtwhistle MALE AUS
35 Henri Schoeman MALE RSA
38 Brandon Copeland MALE AUS
39 Nicholas Free MALE AUS
40 Yoann Colin MALE AUS
41 Nick Frisby MALE AUS
43 Matt Kerr MALE NZL
44 Harvey Lanigan MALE AUS
45 Kurt McDonald MALE AUS
46 Jarrod Osborne MALE AUS
47 Jamie Riddle MALE RSA
48 Jack Sosinski MALE AUS
49 Rory Thornhill MALE AUS
50 Edward Vining MALE AUS
51 Harrison Wiles MALE AUS
52 Levi Hauwert MALE AUS
With files from Craig Heydon/ Ironman