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Hewitt and Sissons chase World Cup success

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/03/2017

Proven pair Andrea Hewitt and Ryan Sissons are comfortably New Zealand's best hopes of success at the triathlon World Cup in New Plymouth on Sunday.

Six Kiwi women and six men will line up in the elite fields at the sprint distance event, with Hewitt bringing in some impressive form.

The veteran multiple Olympian stormed home to win the opening leg of the world series in Abu Dhabi this month and hopes to maintain her moment this weekend.

She credited her freshness to a training block and racing in the Caribbean in February.

Hewitt took the chance, in a post-Olympic year, to change her routine.

"I have been to three Olympic games now and am at the end of my career, so I am going on feeling as to what suits me best," she said.

"I have changed in the sense that I am not going to spend half the year in Europe, with around four months there this time. I will be training in Christchurch, I like being at home and it feels better for my training, so that is the change this year."

She plans to race most, if not all, world series races with the final in Rotterdam her chief goal.

For now, a victory on home soil is the focus. She hopes the hilly course will suit her and break a run of near-misses in New Plymouth, including a runner-up finish last year behind American great Gwen Jorgensen.

Sissons is setting his sights on a podium finish in a strong men's field featuring two-time defending champion Richard Murray of South Africa.

Fourth last year, Sissons is quietly confident of challenging for victory across the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

Sissons is yet to commit to pursuing a third Olympic Games appearance at Tokyo in 2020.

"I'm going to take it year by year, to commit to another four years is too much right now," he said.

"I will see after each year as to what I want to do. I just want to be able to enjoy training and be excited to race, and hopefully, the results will follow.

Part of Sissons' preparation was contesting the 5000m at the recent national athletics championships in Hamilton. He powered home in third place.

Other men to watch will be Rio Olympics bronze medallist Henri Schoeman of South Africa and recent Mooloolaba World Cup winner Luke Willian of Australia.

Hewitt's chief rivals are expected to be Dutch rival Rachel Klamer and Ai Ueda of Japan, who were both in the top five in Abu Dhabi.

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