After an unbelievable year on the international triathlon circuit, which has seen her climb to the number seven spot in the women’s world triathlon rankings, the Free State’s Kate Roberts is poised to end the year with a bang on the local front.
The diminutive blonde from Bloem is one of the favourites to win the senior women’s title in the BSG Energade Triathlon Series which gets underway at Roodeplaat Dam in Pretoria on Sunday, October 10 and ends, after seven grueling sprint races, in Cape Town on December 5.
She will naturally have to out maneuver and outperform defending champion, Andrea Steyn of Pretoria, who has had the better of their encounters in the series during the past two years with Roberts only managing to beat the champ on two occasions in the competition in 2008 and 9.
Looking to be in the best form of her career however, the 27-year-old Roberts, boasting a string of outstanding performances since February, looks poised to reclaim the BSG Energade Triathlon Series title she last won in 2004.
Having joined her coach Dr Darren Smith in Australia in December 2009, where she trained with the likes of Sweden’s Lisa Norden, Britain’s Vicky Holland and Sarah Groff of the USA, Roberts soon showed her intentions for the year winning the Caloundra Enduro Format race in the Australian National Series in February.
The South African Olympian then followed this up with a sixth place finish at the Auckland Takapuna Contact Series sprint race in New Zealand, crossed the line fourth at the Raby Bay Triple Super Sprint Format race in the Australian National Series and finished in the same position at the Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup event in Australia. She finished her stay down under with a sixth place at the Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Championships Series Sydney event in April.
Returning home, her good form continued and she won the ATU African Triathlon Championships in Durban and ATU African Duathlon Championships in Bloemfontein in May, before leaving for Europe.
Once again joining Smith and her training partners in Davos, in the Swiss Alps, for the European summer Roberts continued to shine. A race victory in France got her European season off to a flyer and she followed that up with top ten finishes in a number of Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Championships Series races across the globe.
This included her best result of the year, coming fourth at the Hamburg, Germany Dextro event where she just missed out on a podium finish by mere seconds and finally, after suffering a hip injury coming 11th at the Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Championships Series final in Budapest, Hungary.
As the consummate professional she won’t rest on these laurels, however, as she knows just what Steyn is capable of despite the latter enduring a two month lay-off because of a knee injury – a fact that could be to the Pretoria star’s advantage as she could be fresher and as a sprint triathlon specialist who enjoys the BSG Energade Series format of a 600m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, more hungry for action.
Apart from Steyn, Roberts who is intent on finishing the year on a high note says she will also be keeping an eye on youngsters Carlyn Fischer and Lauren Dance as she feels the race format suits their style of racing and they could be a threat to her plans of winning the BSG Energade Triathlon Series.
One thing is guaranteed, after some close races in last year’s series between Steyn and Roberts, spectators can expect the 2010 series to produce similar excitement.
The same is also likely in the men’s section where former Bloemfontein star and reigning champion, Erhard Wolfaardt will be looking to win the series yet again. He will have his work cut-out for him however, as Hendrik de Villiers looks to be regaining the form that saw him selected for the SA Beijing Olympic team two years ago.
The up-and-coming Richard Murray, seasoned campaigners Claude Eksteen, Chris Felgate (Zimbabwe), Sander Berk (Netherlands), and youngster Abrahm Louw (18) will also add to the intrigue of the series which promises to be one of the most closely contested in years.
And while these professionals fight it out for the nearly R200 000 up for grabs in the series, amateur multi-sport enthusiasts, including beginners and kids, are also welcome to take up the challenge and compete in this seven-event series.
With races held at various venues across the country from October to December it is accessible to nearly everyone, so for more information and to enter visit www.bsgenergadetriseries.co.za and be a part of this exhilarating triathlon competition.