New Plymouth will once again host an ITU World Cup Triathlon in 2015, with a new partnership with naming rights sponsor Quality Hotel Plymouth International highlighting superb support from the local business and sporting community for the March 22 event.

2014 saw New Plymouth host arguably the strongest World Cup racing of the season, with high quality fields assembling just a fortnight out from the season opening Barfoot and Thompson ITU World Triathlon Series event in Auckland. Once again in 2015 New Plymouth can expect some of the best in the world to visit with the sprint distance race coming just a week ahead of the Auckland season opener.

Mario Mola (ESP) won a high quality race in New Plymouth in 2014.Mario Mola (ESP) won a high quality race in New Plymouth in 2014.
(Photo: Scott Taylor / ITU; click to enlarge)

Event Director Terry Sheldrake says the event has been secured thanks to renewed support from the local community.

"This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and commitment from the local New Plymouth business and sporting community and I am so pleased we have once again secured an event of this caliber for the city of New Plymouth. It is thanks to the support of TSB, Venture Taranaki and now Quality Hotel Plymouth International that the community will stand to benefit, with a boost to the local economy, national and global exposure for the region through media interest and the opportunity for the children especially to see these world class athletes in person in the race or at their schools through our community engagement programme."

Quality Hotel Plymouth International has thrown their support in behind the event as naming rights partner, acknowledging the importance that events of this nature can play in the local economy and community.

"We are immensely proud of our city and region and believe we can play a leadership role in ensuring events of this nature return, bringing with them national and international exposure," said Managing Director Darrin Muggeridge. "More so though this is about what this event can do to inspire our children and the wider community through hosting and watching some of the world's leading athletes. Quality Hotel Plymouth International is proud to play our part in bringing this event to our backyard."

Triathlon New Zealand is delighted that the event will once again provide fans and the media a focal point for elite racing on the New Zealand calendar, further establishing the sport in the topline thinking of the sporting community, as CEO Craig Waugh explains.

"It is wonderful to see the second year of the Quality Hotel Plymouth International ITU World Cup in New Plymouth. Last year we were treated to 35 of the world's top 40 triathletes in New Zealand for the New Plymouth and Auckland (World Series) races. Tri NZ in conjunction with Venture Taranaki, TSB Trust and Quality Hotel Plymouth International is excited to bring this event back to NZ.

"The athletes love the location and the course and it provides them with an opportunity to earn crucial Olympic ranking points and the sprint distance is a perfect hit-out for the Barfoot and Thompson ITU World Tri Series event a week later in Auckland. Equally it is important for NZ athletes to races the world's best at home. The triathlon community and sporting fans benefit hugely from an event that creates a positive profile and aspiration for our younger generation."

Unusually the event will not have a participation or all-comers race as part of the programme, instead organizers have worked with Triathlon New Zealand to host the New Zealand Junior National Championships, a race that will see the best U19 athletes from around the country assemble to experience an ITU level event.

"To have the New Zealand Junior (U19) Championships on the same blue-carpet course, in front of the grandstands, and alongside the New Plymouth ITU World Cup is truly inspiring," said Tri NZ High Performance Director Graeme Maw. "The course itself is a real test, and will provide the athletes with an experience that will motivate them to emulate the champions they will see race straight after".

All racing will take place on Sunday 22 March, with full road closure for the event thanks to the support and cooperation of the local business and residential community. The course has not changed significantly, with the race centred on Port Taranaki and Ocean View Parade at Ngamotu Beach. The multi-lap bike course takes in St Aubyn Road, Belt Road, Devon Street West, Calvert Street and back down to Ocean View Parade in a spectacular high speed spectator friendly loop. The run is again a multi-lap course on Ocean View Parade affording the spectators great close up experience of the action as the race will unfold in front of them throughout its 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run distance.

Click here for the event schedule and course maps.