TRIPLE Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen is among the 540-plus competitors lining up in this weekend's Yamba Triathlon Festival.
McEwen (bike) is entered in the Mixed Teams category in Team Boomers with Yamba's Mark Piere (swim) and Belinda Leary (run) and will be out to defend the title after competing in the inaugural event last year.
However the former Orica GreenEdge cyclist warned onlookers not to expect record speeds on Saturday, despite only retiring from professional cycling midway through 2012.
"I came home from a snow holiday a couple of weeks ago and have been crook since," McEwen said.
"So I'm not going any good on the bike at the moment but I'll come down for the fun weekend."
Teammate Belinda Leary remains confident her team can defend its Mixed title, despite their star cyclist not being 100 per cent fit.
"It feels like I'm cheating when I have Robbie ride for us," Leary said.
"Robbie not so fit and anyone else's normal fitness are two different things.
"But there are a few good teams this year so there might be some stiff competition."
In recent years McEwen has struck a soft-spot for Yamba as an idyllic getaway from the Gold Coast.
He was introduced to the location about five years ago by his former neighbours, Russell and Belinda Leary, who as Clarence Valley Junior Triathlon Club members have been proactive in helping prepare the Elite Energy-endorsed event.
"We've been friends for a lot of years and I went down to visit and found it's a lovely place," the 42-year-old said.
McEwen arrives in Yamba on Friday evening with his 12-year-old son Ewan, who is entered in the Enticer Triathlon.
McEwen recently caught the fishing bug and high on his list of things to do will be casting a line on the Clarence River.
"I've gotten into fishing over the last year," he said.
"I'm looking forward to getting in the old tinny and having a fish on the bay. Last time I caught a couple of pretty nice tailor."
Meanwhile, McEwen's former lead-out rider Nick Gates is listed to compete as an individual entrant.
McEWEN FACT FILE
- Age: 42
- Triple winner of Tour de France green jersey points classification (2002, 2004, 2006)
- Participated in the Tour de France 12 times between 1997 and 2010
- Won 12 stages of the Tour de France
YAMBA TRIATHLON FESTIVAL
Program of events
- 4.30pm: Yamba Ocean Swim, Whiting Beach
- 6.30am: Olympic Distance Triathlon, Ford Park
- 10am: Sprint Triathlon, Ford Park
- 12pm: Enticer Triathlon, Ford Park
- 1pm: 2km Fun Run, Ford Park
- 2pm: 5km Fun Run, Ford Park
- 2.30pm: Miniman 10-11yrs, Whiting Beach
- 3.15pm: Miniman 7-9yrs, Whiting Beach
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