It is the first hit out for the Wanaka athlete since he broke his elbow in the ITU Port Taranaki New Plymouth World Cup in March, an injury that saw the 26 year old miss the opening World Triathlon Series event at the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland race in April.
The slightly lower octane racing of the World Cup in Chengdu this weekend is the perfect way for Dodds to find his racing feet again and hit the reset button for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
“I can’t wait to race this weekend, it has been six weeks out of action but I am healing up nicely. It is one of those things though, you know you are going well in training and have overcome the injury but you haven’t really tested it out in race conditions. I am looking forward to it but there is that unknown, it will however be a really good hit-out before next weekend (Yokohama).
“I have had two weeks of full training now and I am swimming back to normal but as I said that is just doing the endurance and timed stuff in the pool, obviously we will find out on the weekend when that gun goes.”
Dodds goes in with a number of race plan possibilities in his head, knowing that the pressure of racing can do funny things. One thing is for sure though, he is keen on the race being tough for everyone.
“It is a flat course, it is man-made specifically for triathlon so it should be good. I want it to be a hard race, I want a breakaway and to be in it, I want things to happen and not let it be an easy race. If you come off the bike with a big bunch in an easy race there are guys who you don’t really know who they are but they can run a 30 minute ten k if you let them, the goal then is to make the bike as hard as I can and not let that happen.”
Dodds is the sole New Zealander in the elite men’s race but three will wear the silver fern in the elite women’s race with Rebecca Clarke, Simone Ackermann and Fiona Crombie all lining up on Saturday afternoon.
The elite men race at 9am local time (1pm NZT) and the elite women at 11.45am local time (3.45pm NZT), live timing is available on www.triathlon.live
Go to www.triathlon.org for the ITU race preview and links to the start lists for both races.