Jersey teenager Ollie Turner has been offered the chance to swim, ride and run alongside the world’s best triathletes at the series opener in St Helier on 28-30 September, having travelled to Canada last week to earn a contract for the upcoming campaign. He follows in the footsteps of Dan Halksworth, who was awarded a wildcard for the pilot event held here last year.
However, Turner’s inclusion for one of the Island’s most high-profile sporting events is not as straight forward as he may have liked.
The top five men and women at the Super League qualifier in Penticton were due to be handed season-long professional deals on Sunday, but with two days’ worth of racing being cancelled due to wildfires, organisers were forced to adjust their plans.
As such, all of the elite athletes who completed Friday night’s 15 km cycling time trial in British Colombia have been invited to Jersey, where they will continue their fight for automatic entry into all remaining Championship events in Malta, Mallorca, Singapore and Australia.
‘The fires were pretty bad,’ said Turner, who finished the time trial in joint sixth on Friday.
‘It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before. On Friday you could feel it in the air, you felt like you had a sore throat and ash was landing on our clothes. And then when we woke up on Saturday I knew something would get cancelled. You couldn’t see much more than 200m in front of you.’
Turner must now finish as one of the top five Penticton qualifiers within the main Super League weekend in Jersey to be offered a contract for the rest of the campaign.
He added: ‘I’ve got my eyes on one thing now. I’m going in with one intention and that’s to qualify.
‘I’ll be in front of a home crowd and I know the course back to front. I’m going to get down and practice the bottom roundabout [Radisson Hotel] in every possible condition, after seeing the amount of people who came down last year on the bike. It can take you out of the race.’
Discussing his chances, he said: ‘The format in Jersey suits the shorter-distance guys, so that fills me with a bit more confidence.’