Australian Triathlete, Matthew Baker, has gained automatic qualification into the U23 World Championships in September after winning the Devonport Triathlon in Tasmania last weekend.
However, despite receiving the spot and being in his final year in the U23 category, Baker has bigger goals – a spot on the Triathlon Australia Elite team.
“I’ll go about the year as planned. I think my decision will be dependent on the worlds team as they’re announced. Ideally, if I race as well as I have been already this year, I want to race Elites.”
“From the perspective that I will be racing at the world championships for another consecutive year, it is a relief. But, I am still going to keep the pressure on and perform as best I can in a bid to be selected to race Elites.”
In order to get one of the sought after Elite spots on the Triathlon Australia team, Baker is focusing this year on targeting the ITU World Triathlon Series, his first being WTS Abu Dhabi that was held earlier this month.
With the Commonwealth Games being held on the Gold Coast next year and the Tokyo Olympics just three years away, the 22-year-old is looking to gain more exposure at the top level. This does not just mean making it to the start line. For Matt, the hunger to fight for the win is just as strong as his need for experience.
“Ideally I’d be racing as many [races] as I can simply to gain experience and a good ranking heading into the Commonwealth Games year and put myself on the selector’s radar as someone they would want representing Australia in the Gold Coast next year.”
“I’m not going into any race thinking ‘oh I’m just getting experience’ – I’m there to win as is everyone else and I’ll put myself in the best position to do so.”
Based in Girona, Spain – a famous hub for professional cyclists and triathletes – from May through September, Baker will be aiming at climbing the ITU rankings in 2017.
In 2017, Baker is a racing on a Factor O2 complete with Black Inc wheels and components. A combination he is finding extremely favourable. Even dabbling in a couple of criterium races in his hometown of Melbourne.
“I’ve really enjoyed training and racing on my Factor O2 so far. Of late I have been racing and doing some criterium racing with the Black Thirty on the front and Black Fifty on the back. I think it has been an awesome combination especially for the types of courses I have been on so far. I think it’ll be an ideal combination for the upcoming Gold Coast WTS event as well. Tight and sharp corners and breeze, not to mention how good accelerating out of tight corners and bends, feels with that combo.”
The ITU World Championships will be held in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in September.