Jesse Featonby back in elite class

ALBURY triathlete Jesse Featonby will be an Australian team member at the World Cup Triathlon in Mooloolaba on Saturday.

His return to the national squad comes after two years on the outer.

His success in the second-tier international Premium Cup last year and ranking points demanded he be given a spot in the main event.

Featonby will also be part of the team that travels to New Zealand for the second round of the World Cup next week.

“It’s extremely exciting to have been selected for the first two World Cup events and my aim is to be a consistent performer across all events this season,” he said.

“I had three great wins at Premium Cup events in Asia last year and narrowly missing the podium in the last World Cup event of the year proved I have what it takes to be a competitor at the top level of competition.

“But this is a hot field — multiple Word Cup winners and Olympians.

“The race is also on for spots in the Commonwealth Games teams this year, so I’d expect all of the Australians and Commonwealth nations to be really wound up for the first race of the season.

“But I have also shown good early season form with two fourths at the Christchurch ITU Premium Cup and the Australian ITU sprint champs at Elwood.”

First prize for the Mooloolaba race — 1500-metre swim, 40-kilometre ride and10-kilometre run is $8300.

Spanish Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez won last year in benign conditions but Featonby expects the surf to play a part this weekend.

“A cyclone up north is generating serious waves and it will be very interesting to see what happens on Saturday,” he said.

“We can train at Lake Hume in a bit of a chop but nothing like this, I expect it will be a battle with the surf.

“Mooloolaba is one of the toughest on the World Cup circuit because of the surf swim, a technical bike course over Alexander Drive hill eight times and then four times over the hill on the run.

“But those hilly sections suit me just fine.”

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