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Roberts eyes podium

Our in-form triathlete Kate Roberts will be looking to see if she can improve on her fine fourth place finish in Hamburg last week when she lines up for the fifth and penultimate leg of the ITU World Championship Series in London on Saturday.

Roberts will be in action on Saturday and the men on Sunday.

A mere two seconds separated the 27-year-old Roberts from a place on the podium in Hamburg last week.

ÔÇ£Hamburg is such a great race with such a good crowd and atmosphere, definitely a day I will never forget. The swim is always brutal, tough bike as it is technical and fast and the run, I tried to hang in there for as long as I could but just did not have the leg speed at the end.

“I still need some work to get onto the podium but patience is key. London will be tougher howeverÔÇØ.

Her fourth place moved Roberts up from 12th on the world rankings to eighth ÔÇô the highest ever by a South African female triathlete. Her fourth place was also the highest ever by a South African women in the World Series.

After missing out on Hamburg, Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz has slipped from first to third in the world rankings and will no doubt be looking to get back on top of the standings in London. In order to do so, Riveros Diaz will have to top reigning world champion Emma Moffatt of Australia, who took over the number-one spot with her runner-up finish in Germany.

Sweden’s Lisa Norden (a training partner of Roberts), won a hard-fought sprint by less than one second in Hamburg. If it comes down to a bunch sprint in London, Norden’s devastating kick will be hard to match. Then there is Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig, who outsprinted Norden to win in London last year.

Spirig is having one of the best seasons of her career, winning round three of the Series in Madrid last month, and also taking top honours at the European Championships in Ireland three weeks ago.

Then there is┬á Aussie Emma Snowsill, who has been lightning quick on the run this year, local favourite Helen Jenkins, who finished third here last season, Japan’s Mariko Adachi, currently ranked second in the world, and Kiwi Andrea Hewitt, who is always
a threat in a sprint.

Roberts made the decision to train in Australia with Darren Smith two years ago and this is clearly beginning to pay off, as she finished fourth in Mooloolaba (World Cup), sixth in Sydney (World Championship Series), 12th in Madrid (World Championship Series) and now fourth in Hamburg.

South African representation in the men’s race are Claude Eksteen, Hendrik De Villiers and Erhard Wolfaadt. Eksteen has missed much of the South African season due to injury, and this will be his first major test of 2010.

De Villiers has also been struggling to find the form that took him to fourth at the World Championships in 2008. There are signs though that he is regaining that form after an intensive 400m interval track session prior to Hamburg. That track session was clearly in his legs when it came to the run and he faded to 36th.