Making home advantage count: Team GB look to capitalize at Leeds – Elite News

Mike Cavendish says the Triathlon World Championship Series (WTCS) race in Leeds will prove vital to the British team’s Olympic preparations.

Cavendish, who is British Triathlon’s performance director, explained how his team can make the most of the home advantage at the AJ Bell-sponsored event on June 11-12.

The race at Roundhay Park in Leeds is the first WTCS event of the Paris 2024 qualifying window and will place particular emphasis on preparations for Team GB’s mixed relay.

Cavendish said: “Being at home is essential for a number of reasons, compared to being abroad.

“We can have more staff, we can test things without having to worry about the impact of travel and it’s nice to have a crowd full of cheers.

Local knowledge

“We will have more staff on a course we know at Roundhay Park which is a huge advantage over moving to a course we don’t know or don’t know as well.

“We’ve never had a stint in Leeds, but we can take some of the unknown because we know the venue very well.”

Mike Cavendish. Photo: Ben Lumley/British Triathlon

The British team won relay gold at the Tokyo Olympics last year and defending that title remains a major focus.

The Montreal WTCS race on June 25-26 will see teams qualify for relay places for Paris 2024, so coming just two weeks before, the Leeds event will be something of a dress rehearsal.

Cavendish said: “The relay element is the most strategically important for us this year.

“Montreal is the most remarkable relay race of the year because we can qualify for a team spot in Paris, but have the opportunity to test and dry run in the lead up to Montreal and over the next few years in Paris is extremely important.”

Critical point

Cavendish added: “Having a home race is critical to this part of the Olympic cycle.

“It’s the very beginning of the qualifying period for the Games and for us it’s the first relay of the cycle, which is even more important than before because of the reversed male-female-male-female order.

“We are reigning Olympic gold medalists in the relay so we know we are the hunted, plus with the change in order everything is new. Having a relay on a circuit at home and being able to test everything in an environment that we know with the support around us gives a huge boost in the preparation over the three years in Paris.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Mixed Relay Triathlon
Britain’s golden quartet in Tokyo.

Cavendish also believes having a relay event in Leeds will continue to raise the profile of triathlon as a spectator sport.

He said: “I remember coming back from Tokyo and although we did very well in the individual races, everyone wanted to talk about the relay.

“One thing I’ve learned in the sport is you have to capitalize on that interest and that conversation, so having a stint at what I think is the best organized and supported race on the Championships calendar. of the triathlon world is huge for us.

“I don’t think you can overstate the importance of the weekend and how it has the potential to push the exhibition triathlon achieved in Tokyo to the next level.”

The Leeds event will also see races by age and mass groups, allowing triathletes of all abilities to sample a world-class course.

Cavendish said: “The events team have worked very hard to bring the route to Leeds as well.

“We have almost every stage of the course represented at the weekend, so a young kid doing their first triathlon can do it in the same place and cross the same finish line as the Olympians they can stay and watch.

“It’s one of the few places where you can actually do that in any sport and it’s all in one place.

“I don’t think we can underestimate the importance of home races, both from a performance perspective and from a course and exposure perspective.”

The elite races will be shown on the BBC as part of its deal to show the WTCS in 2022.