Banbridge triathlete Russell White will be bidding for his first national title this weekend.
The 23 year-old is fresh off the back of his victory at the Lough Neagh Super Series Triathlon and now he says he wants “to make it two wins in a row and pick up the national title.”
Russell will surely be among the favourites at the Vodafone Dublin City Triathlon, where he will battle it out over a 1500 metre swim, 5-lap 40 kilometre draft-legal bike followed by a 10 kilometre run, all performed in the heart of Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
The Category 1 men’s race features 60 starters and includes some formidable names, none more fancied than White.
The local lad has focused primarily on international racing while studying in Scotland but has returned home with ambitions of finishing on the top step of the podium.
Being a draft legal event whereby athletes are allowed to work in pelotons on the bike, it will make the race more tactical than the non-drafting format typically seen in Ireland. Cork man,Chris Mintern (21) is a fellow Irish Squad member and will be hoping to be out of the water near the front in order to form a break-away partnership with White during the bike leg.
Once onto the run, all alliances will be forgotten in the footrace to the finish.
Another Westport triathlete and fellow Irish team-mate, Aichlinn O’Reilly (20) has shown some impressive form this season. O’Reilly is fresh from a win at the Ballinrobe 2 Day bike race and finished 2nd to Rio Olympic hopeful, Bryan Keane at the Hell of the West triathlon.
Former Junior World Bronze Medallist, Con Doherty (20) has raced sparingly this season and is just returning to competitive action after a bike crash in training, but cannot be discounted come race day. Doherty has blistering pace on the run and will be a major threat if he can enter the second transition with the leaders.
Another Irish Squad member, Kieran Jackson (19) is also taking to the start line. The Waterford native, training at the University of Limerick missed almost two seasons through illness but is back with a bang as his training numbers indicate he’s on the rise again.
Jackson is strong across all three disciplines but may be lacking the endurance required for the Standard Distance due to his lack of training miles over the past two years.
GoTri’s Rory Sexton (21), a two-time Aquathlon National Champion, will be in the mix also as will Baku European Games competitor, Aaron O’Brien (20) who is just returning to competitive action following a broken foot sustained in that race.
The Triathlon Ireland Super Series race and National Championships has also attracted an international cohort with British Triathlon Elite, Richard Horton (22) taking to the start line. Horton poses a considerable challenge to the Irish triathletes being a former Junior European and U23 World Duathlon Champion with speed to burn over the bike and run.