Multi-talented Tasmanian Cameron Wurf has revealed how assistance from multiple Tour de France champion Chris Froome helped with his dream of reaching the elite level of a third different sport.
Having represented Australia as a rower at the 2004 Olympic Games and competed in cycling’s WorldTour, the Hobart 34-year-old turned his focus to triathlon.
And at an ironman race in Kalmar, Sweden, Wurf earned a highly-sought-after invite to the world championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Needing to finish in the top two, Wurf completed the 3.86-kilometre swim in 50:20, the 180km ride in 4:14:28 and the marathon 42.2km run in 3:00:38 for a total time of 8:08:58 and second place.
“Yep yep yep, I'll be there with bells on,” he posted on Facebook along with his official invite to the world champs on October 14.
“I'm absolutely rapt,” Wurf said from Europe.
“Crossing the line was probably the most relieved I ever felt in my life. I'd built myself up so much for this that failure doesn't even bear thinking about.
“At the start of the season, qualifying for Kona was the primary goal, the rest from here on in is simply a bonus. I've qualified for Kona as a professional. It's going to be the third sport I'll represent my country in at the highest level, that’s something that I'm pretty proud of.
“As a kid I dreamed of representing Australia in just about every sport, I didn't really care which one, I thought I was good at everything, I guess nothing has changed. The last four weeks has taught me a huge amount about myself and what I'm capable of.”
Having pulled out of an event in Nice with illness, Wurf completed the Zurich Ironman in 8 hours 43 minutes.
But he said teaming up with Froome, shortly after the Brit had won his fourth Tour de France in July, helped achieve his dream.
Wurf, who had worked for SBS in France, travelled to the Alps to train with Froome who, coincidentally, was due to start the Vuelta a Espana on the same day as the Tasmanian’s Swedish ironman.
Under the guidance of coach Tim Kerrison, the 10-day program worked perfectly for both with Froome establishing an early lead in his bid for back-to-back Grand Tour wins.
“It was a bit surreal,” Wurf said.
“Here's the guy who's just won Le Tour so at the absolute peak of endurance sports condition and me, an out-of-shape wannabe ironman triathlete with a wild idea that suffering like a dog for the next couple of weeks was the best way to prepare for the race of my life.
“Being able to follow the same training build-up as Chris was an absolute gift.”