Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club will still have a home course advantage in Saturday's Triathlon NSW Club Championships, however they'll face a slightly different challenge in attempting to secure title three-peats following an 11th hour format change.
Due to high levels of blue green algae the water at the Piranhas' home at Gosling Creek Reserve has been deemed unfit for recreational activities and, as such, all of the prestigious event's races won't feature swim legs, instead reverting to run-bike-run duathlons.
Triathlon NSW made the call to change the format on Tuesday morning on advice from Orange City Council, after they exhausted all other options to try and include swim legs, but no alternative was available at such short notice.
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In a statement released on Tuesday the governing body's chief executive officer Adam Wicks said while he understands there will be disappointment, especially from the athletes travelling, the format change proved a necessary decision.
"Triathlon NSW understands that this announcement will be met with significant disappointment amongst our members coming to Orange," he said.
"We hope you understand that this was not our decision, instead we were advised by the Orange City Council that the water is unsafe for recreational use, and safety and health of athletes must always remain our top priority.
"We look forward to welcoming everyone along to what remains a unique and wonderful event on the calendar and a celebration of everything that’s great about our sport."
The Piranhas will have to change their approach slightly in their bid to win their third consecutive country and division two championship titles, as will The Hills and Kiama, the reigning division one and three champions.
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Saturday's Club Championship races will now feature a 4km run before a 30km cycle, then finish with an 8km run. The half-club races are exactly that, each leg is half the distance, while the junior races' distances are still to be confirmed.
Entries for the events close at 5pm on Wednesday with no on-the-day entries accepted.
Racing is expected to begin from 8.30am on Saturday morning, with the club championship races scheduled for 12.30pm.
The Central Western Daily had been unable to contact Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club for comment at time of publication.
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