Alstonville 'perfect' for ITU prep
ATHENS Olympian Simon Thompson was feeling a little 'homeless' in the lead-up to this weekend's International Triathlon Union Long Distance World Championships in Perth.
That's before he arrived in Alstonville.
Thompson, 31, is from Canberra, has lived in the United States for the last six months and will be moving to Melbourne once the event in Perth is over.
Enter Alstonville, where Thompson joined local lad Clayton Fettell and a squad of other elite triathletes, including Pip Taylor, training at facilities he described as a 'good little secret'.
“They are a great bunch of guys and they are doing such a good job; it's just about as good as any place to come and train for triathlon,” Thompson said.
“The riding is magnificent, there's great running and you have got the pool here, which is world-class, and it is a good little secret. They better keep it to themselves.
“I lived here last summer and it is the perfect place to have a finishing-type camp to fine-tune your final preparations.”
Thompson is hoping to finish an otherwise indifferent 2009 schedule with a top-five placing at the long distance titles in Perth.
“I'm not really sure how I will go,” he said.
“I've come off a really big block of training and starting to feel a lot fresher now and I know that Clayton has been going well so he's a good benchmark to judge where I'm at.
“I haven't had a great year this year so I'm hoping to come home a little stronger with this race and another world championships back in the US in November which I'll go back for.”
Fettell received a late call-up for the 10-man Australian team contesting the ITU long distance championships after Michael Murphy was forced to withdraw.
The 23-year-old is also aiming for a top-five finish and is in good form after winning the Gold Coast half-ironman two weeks ago.
Perth is a place Fettell has enjoyed success in the past.
“I raced there two years ago at the Australian Olympic distance championships and I won the under-23 category and finished fourth in the elites,” he said.
“So having a 'home-town' world championships, hopefully, I can try and pull out something special.”
Thompson nominated Hawaii Ironman winner Craig Alexander of Australia as the favourite to take out this weekend's event, along with Tim O'Donnell of the United States.
“I see it being a really top front-end with a really strong swim/bike leg and if I can be in the mix off the bike then I'll be up there with a chance,” he said.