New Plymouth Pre Race Interviews

by Lisa Pringle on 01 Apr, 2016 10:29 • Español

South Africa’s Richard Murray and America’s Gwen Jorgensen wear the number one in New Plymouth this weekend at the second ITU World Cup race of the season, but a lot of the talk is Rio. We caught up with them both ahead of Sunday’s sprint race.

Richard Murray (RSA)
As the defending champion, you had a choice to race in Australia around this time of the year but chose to come here before you head back to Australia.

I think there were a few things, one of the big things was the timing of the race. I decided post Abu Dhabi the jet lag and a lot of things would play into effect before Mooloolaba (ITU World Cup). I knew a couple of my training partners like Mario (Mola), and a couple of other guys were going to race and I knew the field would have been more stacked as well.

So I decided to come out here again, I had a great race here last year, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and it’s a nice place to come too. You know during the year I’ve got to have a few races which I enjoy coming to and doing, and I think that’s part of the big plan as well.

Talking of the plan, everyone is talking Rio, is year different in terms of the way your racing and training knowing that Rio is on the calendar?
Definitely you need to adjust in an Olympic year and change things slightly, a lot of people cut down there races as the lead up, you’ll see people going for the points who’ll be racing more obviously so it opens it up more for the people further down the line in the rankings but yeah it’s definitely.

I plan on doing 12-14 races this season where other seasons I’ll do 14-18, cutting down a few races and picking off certain events and trying not to do too much travel, those are the big things getting the small stuff right is what’s really going to matter this year.

On the comparison between the New Plymouth course and Rio course. It has an ocean swim, pinch on the bike and a flat run.
In certain aspects yes, we probably get the same numbers on the bike and some of the hills that we would do on the Rio course, but heat wise the humidity is a slight difference between the two and it’s a one lap swim there and here it’s sprint distance so the pace is higher.

It’s a decent course over all, it was a very tough swim last year there was quiet a bit of chop, I probably had one of those moments where I thought I was going to die last year in the swim because I was stuck on the buoy with five guys and people were on top of me, it was pretty hard core. I think Taranaki is noted for being pretty hard core so it’s a good course and good event I look forward to coming back here and having a good show and having some good fun racing

What are you plans are between now and Rio and are they flexible are they set in place or are they changeable?
You always have to be slightly flexible you don’t know what’s going to happen or how the body will respond after a race, so there’s continuous assessment going on how the body feels and how my performances are so from here I’ll be moving through to gold coast, we’ve been just based in Noosa for the last 3-4 weeks and will be racing Gold Coast, outside moving to Cape Town and then I’ll be going home for the first time in a few months. I’ll be racing Cape Town in front of family and friend which is always a great one in and Olympic year is pretty cool too. From there I’ll stay at home for a bit and get a lot of things done I need to do then move through to Europe when the summer starts then plan from there what the rest of the season is going to hold. I don’t want to tell too much but Gold Coast and Cape Town are the short future.

Gwen Jorgensen (USA)
You have been here for a few weeks now with your training group. How have you found it?
I came to New Plymouth a few weeks ago with the Wollongong Wizards and Jamie Turner.

Jamie actually grew up here so he knew the area and that it was an amazing community. We’ve been welcome with open arms, it’s just incredible how welcoming and how helpful everyone has been, everyone in the Taranaki, and I’m so grateful they have welcomed us here.

Being in race mode now just a few days out, what are your thoughts on the course, conditions?
Jamie Turner and the Wollongong Wizards, we came here to New Plymouth to get some good training in and prep in for Rio, there’s great hills to climb, we went up the volcano, there’s just all these great roads, lot of hills, lot of wind, lot of rain, just really good prep to hopefully get some bike prep in before Rio so that’s the main focus of why we came here. Being here and having a World Cup at the same time, I’m excited to go out there and test myself, I haven’t done big race for a long time.

Every time you get out on the course do you put pressure on yourself to perform?
Every athlete wants to perform on race day, we put so much into this sport and everyday we’re investing. When we race, hopefully it’s time to execute what we’ve been practicing, so I’m excited to race and my first WTS race with be in Gold Coast in a week, it’ll be great to race against all the best athletes in the world.

America 1,2,3, here last year, an expectation for another strong team?
We have a really strong contingency of USA athletes, Kaitlin Donner is back, the winner last year here in New Plymouth and we have another couple of girls who are really strong. Team USA is really strong and we’re always pushing ourselves so it’s great to see that and I’m proud to race for the country of USA.

Everything is building towards Rio, is it different to other years?
This year is all about Rio so we’re not doing WTS races that are too graphically inconvenient so we’re only going to races that make sense and my only goal and my only focus is Rio so everything I do is just training for that.

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