British Triathlon has today announced that their first elite event of the year will take place at the venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games triathlon, Strathclyde Country Park on Sunday May 17.
This is the third time that North Lanarkshire will have hosted the Strathclyde Park Elite Triathlon although for the first time this year the event will be run over the elite standard distance of 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run, making it a true dress rehearsal for 2014.
The event will be covered by Channel 4 and will also act as the selection meeting for the European Under 23 Championships to be held in Tarzo Revine in Italy in June, later this year.
Zara Hyde Peters, Chief Executive of British Triathlon said: "We are delighted to confirm we are returning to Strathclyde Country Park in 2009 for our season opener. It is a great course in a spectacular location and gives our elite athletes the chance to test themselves early on in the season."
Scottish triathlete David McNamee said: "I'm looking forward to racing on home soil in Strathclyde Park, it's a great venue for athletes and spectators. I'm racing to win my place in the GB team for the European Under 23 Championships in Italy in June. I was brought up in Ayrshire and went to school in Glasgow so I hope there will be plenty of home support to help me achieve that."
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency, said: "Strathclyde Park is a great location for this type of multidiscipline event and funding is in place for the event until 2013, which shows real commitment to the sport in the lead up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games."
"It is crucial that our athletes are given every opportunity in the coming years to train and contend on home soil to ensure they are ready to compete for medals both in 2012 and in 2014."
North Lanarkshire Council, which operates Strathclyde Country Park, is confident the event will be a complete success. "The council is delighted to be welcoming British Triathlon back to Strathclyde Country Park for the third time," said Councillor Helen McKenna, Convener of Environmental Services with North Lanarkshire Council. "We're looking forward to working with them to produce another superb event this year."
With the countdown to London 2012 well underway, British Triathlon are aiming to provide clear performance pathways for competitors to give Great Britain the best chance to challenge for medals in three years time.
Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the United Kingdom with an estimated 100,000 taking part in over 700 registered races in 2008.
The sport currently boasts four British World Champions: Helen Jenkins (Senior), Kirsty McWilliam (Junior), Alistair Brownlee (Under 23) and Chrissie Wellington (Long Distance).
The British Triathlon Federation is the governing body of the sport in the UK, whose members are the three home nations associations of Triathlon England, TriathlonScotland and Welsh Triathlon.
British Triathlon is responsible for matters such as the Great Britain Elite, age group teams, British and international events, anti-doping and international representation.
EventScotland is the national events agency.
EventScotland is working to make Scotland one of the world's leading event destinations. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors.
For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit EventScotland.org.