By Mark Etheridge
It’s an early, a very early, start to the international triathlon season, but South Africa’s Olympic bronze medallist, Henri Schoeman, is raring to go at Saturday’s Discovery World Cup event at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.
He admits to having something of a delayed return to proper training, but is happy with his form for the 750-metre swim, 20km bike and 5km sprint event.
‘It’s pretty great to kick off with a season opener in Cape Town, a local race,’ he says. ‘It’s so early in season, and while a lot of athletes are in good shape, some will be peaking at a later stage, so it’s interesting to see who’s on form and who’s not.
‘I’ve had something of an on and off season in training. I was still very busy with all the hype and media etc after the Olympics and the Cozumel Grand final.
‘So I probably didn’t have the best start, but it’s gone really well over last two months and I’ve got in to some really great shape already,’ said the KwaZulu-Natal based star.
And he’s ready for whatever the Mother City can throw at him. ‘Oh yes, I’m ready for a very strong performance and I think a podium is definitely on the cards. Sure, it’s quite tough to beat Richard [Murray] if we’re together on the run, but I’m ready for it.
‘But there’ll be some good entertainment and rivalry even thought it’s not an entirely deep field this early in the season.
‘I see there are some good Frenchies here and a couple of English guys so I’m really looking forward to race, I think it’s going to be a good one for me.
‘I’m also really excited to race on my new SwiftCarbonbike. It’s a personalised bike with bronze colours to go with the Olympic bronze medal theme and there’s also a touch of the SA flag in the design.
‘It’s a phenomenal bike and I’m looking forward to using it for first time in Cape Town… it’s going to be something special.’
The men’s elite race is off at 3.30pm from Quay 6 in the Waterfront.
Before that event, the elite women will brave what is expected to be water temperatures of around 15 degrees Celsius at 1.45pm.
A large SA contingent, including Australia-based Anel Radford, will line up.
And the next generation of stars will also be testing the waters at elite level.
Among them will be 2014 African Youth Games champion Madelaine le Roux and 2014 Youth Olympian Jamie Vermaas, both from Bloemfontein.
Another familiar face from years back will be in action at elite level, in the shape of 2011 African Games champion Carlyn Fischer.
Also originally from Bloemfontein, the Pretoria-based racer is not shouting from the rooftops beforehand: ‘I like to keep a low profile and let my racing do the talking. The last year has been plagued with injury and illness, so I’d like to first just get back in to it now. ‘