Ward to do the Snowies MTB Festival – Oceania Cross Triathlon Double
Australian MTB specialist Kyle Ward set to celebrate 23rd birthday this weekend with a week of mountain bike racing and off-road triathlon in the Snowy Mountains…
SYDNEY—Fresh off a men’s pairs win on Sunday with his younger brother Jayden (18) in the opening round of the Evocities MTB Series in Orange, NSW, Wollongong’s Kyle Ward is set to race the inaugural Snowies MTB Festival-Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships double at the Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa starting with this weekend’s two-day, four-stage MTB race (21-22 Feb) that culminates on his 23rd birthday.
The Ward brothers spent most of the 2014 season overseas racing the World Cup series, now he’s back in Australia and keen compete in a red-hot field at the Snowies, which includes rival and Australian national champion Andy Blair who finished first at the AMB 100 last week.
“Andy is getting ready for South Africa’s Cape Epic in March, so he’s in great form and will be tough to beat at the Snowies,” said Ward. “I believe the race will be either won or lost on the final 75-kilometre marathon stage.
“While I don’t feel that either me or my brother are in our ideal form, I am excited about that stage and believe it gives me the best opportunity to take time and ride for both the stage and general classification.”
Not only will the soon-to-be birthday celebrant be taking on the Snowies, the mountain bike specialist will also be competing in the Oceania’s a week later (28 Feb – 1March), but not before staring uni in between (25 Feb).
“I really enjoy off-road triathlon,” said the former TreX Dirt Master, who was first introduced to Cross Triathlon at Wisemans Ferry in 2012. “I probably haven’t spent enough time running and swimming, but I’m really looking forward to racing against great athletes.
“Just have to make a mid-week trip back to Wollongong for school first.”
Ward will be facing a stacked start list with fellow Wollongong resident and 14-time Xterra champion Ben Allen, reigning Australian Cross Triathlon champion Max Neumann, as well as two-time Olympian Courtney Atkinson (AUS) and former adventure race world champion and recently crowned Coast to Coast champion Braden Currie (NZL), who captured his third straight title in a 243km multisport race across New Zealand’s South Island over the weekend in a time of 11 hours 20 minutes and 46 seconds.
In the women’s field, London Olympics bronze medallist Erin Densham (AUS) headlines a start list that also includes off-road specialists Jacqui Slack (GBR), Renata Bucher (SUI), Lizzie Orchard (NZL) and Connie Silvestri (AUS).
“While mountain biking is my primary focus, I’m still pretty excited to be racing the Oceania Cross Triathlon Championships following the Snowies,” admitted Ward regarding his opportunity to race for a share of the $40k prize purse up for grabs. “In2Adventure run a really good event and there’s always a really good atmosphere in the Snowies.”
“The weather this time of year should be absolutely perfect and I just really want to get involved and have a bit of fun at the same time.”