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Royle relaxed as triathlon chase heats up

  • Royle relaxed as triathlon chase heats up

    Aaron Royle is the one Australian who can relax at this weekend's Gold Coast World Series Triathlon.

For his rivals it's all or nothing, but for Aaron Royle Saturday's ITU World Triathlon Series event on the Gold Coast is just another step on the road to Rio.

Royle is sitting pretty as the sole Australian who has booked his spot at this year's Olympic triathlon event after a sixth-placed finish at the 2015 test event in the Brazilian city.

Saturday's race doubles as an Olympic qualifier with an automatic berth on the line to the highest-ranked Australian inside the top 10.

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Royle's already-qualified status however means he can take a very different approach to every other Australian athlete at the event.

The 26-year-old trains with another already-qualified athlete in American Gwen Jorgensen as part of the Wollongong Wizards club in NSW and he is only too aware that their status differentiates them from the field.

"It's been a different start compared to my training partners," Royle said.

"That's just the way it is. We've been able to qualify early and just really target that one day in August."

While Royle's Olympic preparations continue, Saturday will see a red-hot race to join him between fellow Wollongong Wizards Ryan Bailie and Jake Birtwhistle as well as hometown veteran Courtney Atkinson.

Dual Olympian Atkinson might be a fans' favourite for the automatic place but Royle is hoping it's one of his training buddies who can qualify.

"Either of those two, I'd be pretty stoked for them to get on the team," he said.

"They're going quite well, especially Ryan's had quite a pretty consistent year last year. He's in with a pretty good shot but this race on Saturday is a one-day race and anything can happen."

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