Wurf backs up from Roubaix hell at Ironman

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One day in hell is enough for most people.

But just three weeks after Australian triathlete Cameron Wurf toiled over the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix, he will contest the Ironman triathlon world championships on a tough course in Utah.

The 38-year-old is a sporting phenomenon, having rowed for Australia at the 2004 Olympics.

He then switched to professional cycling before combining that career with long-course triathlon, also as an elite competitor.

So it meant Wurf had a domestique role in the powerful Ineos Grenadiers team at last month's Paris-Roubaix, the one-day monument nicknamed the Hell Of The North.

But it turned into a heavenly day, with Dylan van Baarle giving Ineos their first Paris-Roubaix win.

Now Wurf is turning his attention to the Ironman world championships on Sunday (AEST) which are being raced outside Hawaii for the first time because of the disruptions of the last two years.

He is swapping the 257.2km of dust and cobbles at Paris-Roubaix for a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42.2km run on a hilly, challenging course at St George in Utah.

"I'm on call for pretty much every race (at Ineos) ... so there was no guarantees I could even be here in St George until a few days ago," Wurf said.

"But being at Roubaix and actually being a part of it the way we were, being how big a day it was, it reminds you how fortunate you are to be able to compete at the highest level.

"My wife said to me a couple of weeks ago, 'you wanted to be the big guy that said you could do both sports, so you get yourself on that plane and take us with you and go and take on these guys and prove you can do it'.

"I'm really grateful to be here (at St George), it's a huge privilege."

Ineos set up van Baarle's win with a surprise attack early in the race that split the field, meaning Wurf had to put himself through plenty of pain in his support role.

"They said in the (team) car that it was hard at the back and everyone was struggling, I was like 'well that's great news because I'm about to blow up like a cheap watch," he said.

"Then we went and chased another couple of moves and now I've got lactate coming out my eyeballs and next thing you hear over the radio is 'guys, it's splitting'."

While Wurf was a domestique at Paris-Roubaix, he has won Ironman-distance triathlons and has finished in the top 10 at Hawaii.

Provided he has recovered well from last month's cobbled mayhem, Wurf looms as Australia's top hope at St George.

Matt Burton and Max Neumann are also in the elite men's field, while Renee Kiley is the only triathlete from this country among the professional women.

Hawaii was cancelled for the last two years because of COVID-19, so the Ironman world championships were moved to St George and will return to Kona again this October.

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