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Kate back in the fray

By Mark Etheridge

Our leading women’s triathlete last year, Kate Roberts returns to local action on Sunday after one of her most frustrating years to date.

She’ll line up for the fourth leg of the BSG-Energade series at KwaZulu-Natal’s Midmar Dam.

There she’ll be matching herself against the in-form Andrea Steyn, silver medallist at last month’s All Africa Games in Mozambique.

Steyn, herself on a comeback from injury after a six-month break ahead of the All Africa Games has been on song in the series. The Pretoria powerhouse is unbeaten after the first three legs at Roodeplaat Dam, Hartebeespoort Dam and Potchefstroom.

So the match-up is going to be an interesting one to see where both the stars are in terms of competition fitness. Roberts had a super World Cup series last year, ending seventh in the world rankings.

But then injury and health issues held her back for most of the year and she has really struggled to find form but there have been encouraging signs in the last two months and she ended 15th in the ITU World Series event in Yokohama, Japan last month.

“I’m well and trying to get things back on track in terms of training,” Roberts told Road to London 2012 this week. “I am happy to be training back in the land of the the Rand, sunshine, biltong and smiles. It has been a less stressful environment for me to training camp with my coach and I am happy with the way things have gone thus far.”

And there’s no doubting she’s ready for racing. “I’m really excited to be racing Midmar this weekend. I just want to use it as a test to see how my fitness is progressing, as I am aiming to race well at the final World Cup of the year on 20 November in Auckland, New Zealand. I will still have a 10-day block of training after Midmar before I leave and it will be good to see where I need to improve to be in good form come 20 November.

“Also one can never simulate a training session like it is in a race, so that is why I really want to race this weekend.”

“After Auckland I head back to the grind and back to Canberra in Aussie with coach and the squad, where I will start my base phase of training for the all important year of the 2012 London Olympic Games. I’ll be back home towards the end of February to race South African and African Champs.┬á”Life is full of happy smiles at the moment and my injuries and bad health are a thing of the past.”

In the men’s race there should also be a great match-up between Erhard Wolfaardt and Richard Murray. Murray won the first leg of the series before he headed off to Mexico where he achieved his best place to date, second in a World Cup event in Huatulco.

In his absence Wolfaardt won in Hartebeespoort and then again in his home town of Potchefstroom where Murray’s race ended with a puncture in the bike.

Sunday should provide for some excellent racing across the board.


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