Jake Birtwhistle is putting faith in his preparation ahead of the most important assignment on his globe-trotting, 120,000-kilometre 2019 agenda in Tokyo on Friday morning.
Despite the most successful season of the 24-year-old's stellar career, including his first two wins in the World Triathlon Series, the Tasmanian has long targeted the Olympic qualification event as his priority.
Controversially overlooked in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 when he was Australia's top-ranked triathlete, Birtwhistle has the chance to confirm selection for the 2020 Games on the Olympic course in Japan's capital.
Fresh off a training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, Birtwhistle will wear the prestigious number one on the Odaiba circuit, knowing the first Australian with a podium finish will be nominated by Triathlon Australia to the Australian Olympic Committee for next year's Games.
"I'm feeling good ahead of the race Friday," he told The Examiner from Japan.
"I'm coming off the back of a short, but solid training block at altitude and the body seemed to adapt really well this time around. I was able to put together some consistent good training which at 2200 metres elevation certainly isn't a given.
"There is a lot on the line for almost every athlete in the race, with different nationalities offering up qualification for next year so I'm expecting a very tough race.
"There is an automatic Olympic position up for grabs but this is still a test event so we'll use this race and the results to see what we have done right and what needs adjusting ahead of the Games next year."
Described on the ITU website this week as "the revelation of this season so far", Birtwhistle has won WTS races in Leeds and Hamburg.
He sits third on the world rankings, with 5225.73 points, behind training partners Vincent Luis, of France (6550.20), and Spaniard Mario Mola (6850.48) and is fifth in the WTS rankings.
With Luis and Mola absent, Birtwhistle's toughest competition is likely to come from Henri Schoeman, the South African who pipped him to Commonwealth Games gold last year.
Birtwhistle will lead a contingent of 10 Australians around Odaiba Beach in a 1.5km swim and 40km ride before four laps of a 2.5km running course with temperatures and humidity expected to be high.
"The conditions will add another aspect that we aren't often exposed to on the World Series but I'm pretty confident in the prep I've done," he added.
"Now the only thing left to do is race and leave it all out there, so we'll see how it goes."
Birtwhistle, whose 2018 achievements saw him named Tasmanian athlete of the year, will be joined on the startline at 8.30am (AEST) by Commonwealth Games teammates Matt Hauser and Luke Willian plus 2016 Olympians Aaron Royle and Ryan Fisher.
The Australian squad will back up their individual performances with the mixed relay on Sunday with world championship bronze medallists Birtwhistle, Royle, Emma Jeffcoat and Natalie Van Coevorden among those looking to retain Australia's number one world ranking.
Birtwhistle also anchored Australia to gold in the event on home soil in last year's Commonwealth Games.
The multiple state and national athletics and cross-country champion said his experiences on the Gold Coast should help his quest for elusive Olympic selection.
"I've put Rio behind me," he said.
"I still think it would have been nice to have that experience of the environment before challenging for a win so it's not new to me.
"But that's the good thing about the Commonwealth Games. It's a similar experience scaled down to a degree.
"For the most part the stars of the sport are from Commonwealth countries so it was a world-class field on the Gold Coast and multi-sport games like that in the lead-up to Tokyo are a big help.
"In 2018 things progressed a lot and my results showed that so I'm excited to build on that and with the Olympics around the corner things are looking promising ... but there's still a lot of work to do."
The Swiss city of Lausanne will host the WTS grand final at the end of August.
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