Launceston stars to face elite company

LAUNCESTON triathletes Dylan Evans and Jonathan Butler will take on the best elite and under-23 athletes in the country at tomorrow's Devonport Triathlon, which doubles as the Oceania championships.

Evans, 21, has progressed from junior ranks and has been racing competitively for the past two years since gaining his pro-licence.

"The last 12 months I was a full-time professional athlete racing in Europe and Asia, which went really well and I got some good results," he said.

"I raced for a German team over there just for the experience and a way of making a bit of cash on the world circuit races and I would normally travel with other Australians to those.

"This year I'm going back to university and I've just come back from racing on the ITU circuit in New Zealand."

The former St Patrick's College student said his main aim was to finish on the podium in the under-23 category for the Olympic distance race in Devonport, which sees athletes complete a 1500-metre swim, 40km bike leg and 10km run.

"I'm ranked second for the race behind Declan Wilson but I'd like to beat my ranking," Evans said.

"There's only 40 in the field with elites and under- 23s, but it is a really high- quality field."

Butler, 19, has been competing seriously for the past two or three years in triathlons after coming from a swimming background.

"I'm enjoying the challenge since switching across from swimming and it's something I love doing," he said.

"Swimming is my strongest leg and I used to be a pretty competitive swimmer when I was younger and still swim with South Esk Swim Club."

He said he was looking forward to competing in some of the national races with Evans and hoping for good results starting with Devonport.

Evans and Butler could be joined in the field by their former training partner in Jake Birtwhistle if the newly-crowned Australian junior champion is fit after last weekend's national victory in Melbourne.

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