Triathlon's high profile field grows

A file picture of Robbie McEwen during the Tour Down Under in South Australia last year.
A file picture of Robbie McEwen during the Tour Down Under in South Australia last year. AAP

AUSTRALIAN cycling great Robbie McEwen will join Olympic swimming gold medallist Michael Klim in the Byron Bay Triathlon.

McEwen, 40, has been entered in the relay team section and will do the bike leg.

Klim will also compete in a team, with the pair to be the star attractions of the 18th annual event.

"We're excited that numbers are up from previous years," event co-ordinator Celia McConnell said.

"We have 1150 individuals and 175 people in teams.

"It's always been a popular event and people come here to make it a week of fun and fitness."

There will be two days of competition and activity with the triathlon starting at noon tomorrow.

It will be a 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

McEwen will hit the bike after retiring in 2012 from a 17-year professional cycling career.

He was among the world's greatest sprinters at the peak of his career and had 12 Tour de France stage wins along the way.

Since his retirement he has moved into a coaching role with Australian-based team Orica-GreenEDGE.

McEwen has also been a staunch critic of drug cheat Lance Armstrong in recent times.

He stood on the Tour de France podium alongside Armstrong in 2002 and 2004 as the green jersey winner.

Klim won gold medals as a member of the 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m relay teams at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

The fields in the individual open men's and women's divisions of the Byron Bay Triathlon look wide open this year.

Professional triathletes Pete Jacobs and Melissa Rollison won't be back to defend their titles because of other commitments.

Lennox Head competitor Joseph Lampe has entered; he won the race in 2011.

Tuntable Creek professional Courtney Gilfillan will be among the favourites after placing third in the past three Byron Bay Triathlon events.

Action tomorrow will start with the junior aquathon race in the morning.

Sunday will include a fun run, family walk and short distance race.

Topics:  byron bay triathlon

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