New Zealand's top triathletes will be aiming to finish their season on a high as they begin their final preparations before the world championships in London this weekend.
Olympians Andrea Hewitt and Ryan Sissons have had mixed success this season and will be hoping for strong finishes to their 2013 campaign at the ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final.
Christchurch's Hewitt believes her buildup to the final event of the year has been exceptional having spent the past month training with the team at altitude in France, saying she was in "the best shape I've been in all year".
"It's been a mixed season of results; I started with a couple of issues in races at the start of the year," Hewitt said about her rough start to the season.
"But as the season has gone on - it started in Kitzbuhel where I finished fourth in the World Triathlon Series there and then Hamburg another fourth - I started to move up the rankings and my form got better."
Ranked fifth in the world heading into the London event, Hewitt also has an eye on qualification for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and hopes a great result this weekend will put her in an ideal position to secure her place.
However, the main objective for the 31-year-old is on the race ahead and is hopeful of challenging those above her in the rankings in which American Gwen Jorgensen leads and who Hewitt feels is the favourite.
"It's a top 12 result on Saturday for a nomination for the Commonwealth Games so that'll be in the back of [my] mind too but I really just want to have a good race."
Meanwhile, it's been a similar season in terms of results for Sissons who is the top-ranked New Zealander and sits just outside of the top 10.
But the Zimbabwe-born Kiwi has found some form mid-season and is determined to wrap up the year with a strong performance to climb up the rankings.
"Looking at this event I'm currently 11th in the world and I'd certainly like to finish off in the top 10.
"A solid top-10 performance this weekend will certainly secure that and I guess that's my aim is to finish off the season ranked in the top 10 in the world."
The 25-year-old from Auckland faces a tough challenge coming up against the sibling Olympic medallists and local favourites, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, who have been leading the way along with Spain's Javier Gomez.
"It would be awesome if you could topple them over, they certainly have been a step above the rest throughout the whole season.
"To beat them would be massive, they've certainly shown that they are the best and anything can happen in a race so you've got to put your best foot forward and go in looking for a good race," Sissons said.
Another driving factor for Sissons this weekend in the grand final race would be to try to boost his chances of going to Glasgow, saying it would allow him to plan a lot better for next season.
Joining Hewitt in the elite women's race that will be contested tonight (NZ time) are Kate McIlroy, of Wellington, and Nicky Samuels, of Wanaka, while Sissons will compete alongside fellow compatriots Tony Dodds, of Wanaka, and Martin van Barneveld, of Wellington, in the elite men's race on Monday morning (NZ time).
- © Fairfax NZ News