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Eksteen pumped up
- Updated: May 14, 2009
After spending the summer training in Australia with fellow South African Kate Roberts and a number of Australian athletes as well as Olympian Daniella Ryf and Lisa Norden under the guidance of Darren Smith on the Gold Coast, Claude Eksteen opens his European triathlon campaign in Pontevedra, Portugal on Sunday, May 17.
The race is an ITU Premium European Cup. More ominously, it is the hometown of Javier Gomez, 2008 World Champion and top ranked triathlete in the World since 2006. ‘The whole town will come out and support him so the atmosphere is going to be incredible,’ said Eksteen from his base in Germany.
‘The race will be extremely tough with some 80 athletes from 17 different nations competing. Beside Gomez, there’s also the likes of Sven Riederer of Switzerland, the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist. Germany’s Thomas Springer will also be there. He had three top 10 World Cup finishes last year, so it wont be easy. And it’s the opening leg of the European triathlon season. It’s going to be fast, furious and tough.’
Eksteen’s last race this year was the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon Oceania Conitnental Cup in Australia on April 5 where he finished fourth. ‘I was way too careful in getting off the bike there and therefore too far in the pack to be able to challenge and was also very conservative in the run. Tactics are always difficult to preplan, but I will certainly be more aggressive. It is important to have a solid swim and get out in the first pack.
‘On the bike I will go with the flow and try and stay out of trouble. I feel my running is going really well and will want to give the 10km run a good test, so it will be important for me to get off the bike right at the front and start my run much more aggressively,ÔÇØ said Eksteen who┬á will join his ‘Aussie’┬á training group in Davos, Switzerland after Sunday’s race.
Eksteen’s race my be hampered slightly after he picked up a slight head cold last┬á weekend. ‘ I’m trying to shake it before the race on Sunday; I should be fine by then. I think coming from the hot summer in Oz to the colder Germany gave my system a bit of jolt and the result is the cold.’
Sunday will kick off Claude’s season in earnest and he is keen to get a good result to get some good points for his world ranking.