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Ineos Grenadiers’ Cameron Wurf will race rescheduled 2021 Ironman worlds in Utah

Hot off helping Ineos Grenadiers win Paris-Roubaix, the Australian is heading to the US to race the rescheduled 2021 world championship with one eye already on Kona.

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Straight from Paris-Roubaix to the Ironman world championships for Cameron Wurf, it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire

The WorldTour pro and triathlete confirmed to VeloNews he is heading to the United States to race in the rescheduled 2021 Ironman worlds on May 7, in St. George, Utah.

That’s just weeks after helping Ineos Grenadiers teammate Dylan van Baarle win Paris-Roubaix on April 17, one of the world’s most punishing and demanding road races.

Now he’s diving back into triathlon, though he admits he’s not had much time to train for swimming or running with his busy road racing schedule this spring.

“I’m going to give it a crack,” Wurf said in a message to VeloNews. “I’ll be happy if I survive the swim. I’ve done about as much this year as I normally would in a week.”

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Wurf said he was hopping on a flight Monday, and arriving in time for the rescheduled 2021 Ironman world championships in Utah, this weekend.

The marquee event was canceled outright in 2020 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but the 2021 event is rescheduled for May 7, the first time the iconic triathlon will be contested outside of Hawaii in the event’s history.

Wurf also reconfirmed his top target this season is the 2022 Ironman World Championship, set for its traditional site and date in Kona, Hawaii, on October 2.

Wurf said his goal is to “be there,” but said he will need to qualify by August.

The 38-year-old Australian has been balancing the life of elite triathlete and WorldTour road racing pro since rejoining the top pro road racing league in 2020 with Ineos Grenadiers.

“I am on the team to be on standby, and  I don’t have a racing program,” Wurf told VeloNews. “They call me when they need me.”

This unique deal was hammered out three years ago between Wurf, his coaches, and Ineos Grenadiers team boss Dave Brailsford.

Since then, he’s been the team’s top go-to “bench player” to help fill vacancies across the season when the team might need some extra legs due to injuries, illnesses, or other issues.  In 2020, he raced 31 days, including the Vuelta a España, while he did 23 races in 2021. So far in 2022, he’s already logged 18 race days across the spring calendar.

“That was something Dave and I discussed three years ago, and here we are three years down the track,” Wurf said. “The team feels it’s a good role for me. I help them, and it helps me.”

With COVID turning the triathlon schedule upside down, Wurf ended up racing quite a bit more than he might have expected the past two years as the major dates on the European racing calendar were largely able to be contested in 2020 and 2021.

The return to the WorldTour helped Wurf’s triathlon performances. His deep base on the road racing leg allows him to either crush the field cycling leg, like he did en route to victory last year at Copenhagen, or give him a bit of a cushion to carry him into the run.

Cameron Wurf on Kona worlds: ‘The goal is to be there’

Cameron Wurf celebrates winning the Ironman Copenhagen at Amager Strandpark in Copenhagen, Denmark, in August. (Photo: KELD NAVNTOFT/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Coming into 2022, Wurf continues to see plenty of race days with Ineos Grenadiers.

Wurf is used to last-minute call-ups to join races. Over the winter, he was training in Los Angeles with Ineos Grenadiers teammate Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, and got the call in February to return to Europe.

After a quick visit to the Nike headquarters in Oregon, he jumped on a flight to Spain and started the Ruta del Sol later that week. He was roommates with American rookie Magnus Sheffield, who later won a stage that week before becoming the first American to win Brabantse Pijl last month.

Wurf was busy all spring with the team, capped by victory with Van Baarle at Roubaix.

“When I go home I will get back into running and swimming, and use the bike races for my cycling training,” he said.

“It would be nice to train for the bike races, but it is what it is. It’s a great opportunity, but I am honored to be part of this team, and be part of this young group, a new generation of guys. It’s awesome.”

Wurf will see more road race days, but at some point, he will peel off from his road commitments to prepare specifically for Ironman worlds.

First, he will need to qualify for the 2022 Ironman world championship, something he said he’s “confident” he can do.

“With triathlon, Kona is the goal, and that’s not until October, so I’ve committed to the team until early September, and they’ve agreed to give me that four to five weeks to prepare for Kona,” he continued.

“I need to do a race or two to qualify for Kona, but I am confident I can do that. I’ve been able to do that in the past.

“If I can get a bit of a runway to train for two or three weeks before a triathlon, and there are a lot of races in Europe, from May through the summer, I don’t know which one it will be, but hopefully I will win again, like I did last year Copenhagen, and then set my sights on Kona.”

Cameron Wurf: ‘I will stay on the team as long as they need me’

Now based in Andorra, said he is relishing the challenge of racing in the WorldTour and pushing his physical limits in triathlon.

Kona is the “big goal,” and Wurf will be among the podium favorites this fall if he continues on his steady trajectory.

“I will stay on the team as long as they need me,” Wurf said. “The plan was always for me to continue in 2022 with Ineos. Personally, I wanted to wait until I did Ironman to make sure it wasn’t hindering me. They canceled Kona, so we didn’t see how a ‘normal’ season would pan out, but we got to see that the bike racing is helping, and we can potentially do it even better this year.

“I was happy to do another year and contribute to the team. I’ve had my opportunities in this sport, and I love being part of this team, and I love being able to fill in when I can.

“As long as I am useful, I want to keep going it, but I don’t want to hang around like a bad smell, either,” he said with a laugh.

 

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