The mens triathlon race gets underway at the Rio Olympic Games at 2am New Zealand time tomorrow (Friday) morning with Tony Dodds and Ryan Sissons amongst the field set to dive into the waters off Copacabana Beach for the 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run journey to the finish line.

There has been much talk about the course with a swim off the beach at Copacabana followed by a challenging bike with a decent climb each lap. Dodds says the nature of the course will dictate the way the race unfolds but says everyone will be ready for it.

“It will play a massive part, it is quite steep and quite long as well but is also straight out of transition. It is the Olympics though, you can never write anyone off but as Ryan saw last year (at the test event) the athletes kind of made their move more on the flat - that is where everyone gained most of their time. It does increase both of our chances though, we both love hills as we have shown in Auckland.

“The pure runners are strong though, it won’t take too much of the sting out of them, it will take more out of the bigger boys, the swim bikers maybe. But as I said it is the Olympics, if it was a World Series race it might play a bigger part but because this is the Olympics, everyone has been preparing for this for a very long time.”

Sissons was the first of the New Zealand men to qualify for the team to Rio and has been focused on the race for some months now and has just moved closer to the course, outside the Olympic Village.

“We are down at Copacabana now, it is a bit of a change from being in the village. The course is cool, we rode around it this morning, it is iconic for Rio with a lot of the big beaches, statues and stuff close to the course.”

Sissons says the swim could be a challenge for some, but won’t worry the Aussies and Kiwis.

“It is not really ‘surfy’ but there is a bit of a chop around and a wave here and there and that might be better for us Kiwis and Aussies, we are used to that sort of thing and hopefully there are a few waves tomorrow.

“It is always key to put yourself in a good position straight away, I have a good start position with good swimmers around me and I just need to get out and have a solid swim and be there or thereabouts. The bike will be pretty solid with a hard hill every lap of eight laps and then obviously a 10k run off that so I will try to conserve all I can after the swim and bike and take it from there.”

The race gets underway at 2am Friday morning NZ time and will be covered live on Sky Sport Rio Pop Up 2 Channel.