Brad Kahlefeldt
Brad Kahlefeldt Nicola Brander

Kahlefeldt is fighting back

FIVE weeks ago Brad Kahlefeldt was laying in a hospital bed in San Diego with suspected tuberculosis.

After four days in isolation and extensive testing, doctors finally diagnosed the 33-year-old Gold Coaster with atypical pneumonia.

Medicos were astounded he had managed to complete the leg of the ITU Triathlon World Championship Series in San Diego before being rushed to hospital

After several days recuperating with fellow Queensland triathlete Annabelle Luxford, the 16th-placed finisher from Beijing re-joined the Australian training group in Spain, then the European training camp in Aix Le Bains, France.

And now in a recovery that has again stunned Australian coaching and medical staff, the London-bound Olympian will return to racing in a round of the ITU Triathlon World Championship Series in the Austrian city of Kitzbuhel this weekend.

Acknowledging that he was still not back to peak fitness, Kahlefeldt said he was confident he was ready to return to top-level competition.

"I'm pleased with the training I have been able to complete over the past three weeks," he said.

"I'm not quite where I would like to be performance-wise coming into Kitzbuhel, but I think I'm only a couple of weeks off."

Australian head coach Shaun Stephens said Kahlefeldt's recovery was truly extraordinary.

"Brad eased back into training for the first 10 days, but the last three weeks have been at full training load," Stephens said.

"He will train through Kitzbuhel with the aim of getting another Olympic distance race under his belt in his preparations for London."

Another triathlete returning to racing in Austria is Olympic favourite Alistair Brownlee.

Kitzbuhel will be his first ITU race this season after sustaining an achilles injury in February.

The man the Brit will have to beat to defend his title from last year is his brother Jonathan who won in San Diego and backed that up in Madrid last month.

Kahlefeldt will be joined on the start line by emerging Australian youngsters Aaron Royle and Ryan Fisher while in the women's race, last week's ITU World Cup bronze medallist, Ashleigh Gentle, will be joined by Felicity Sheedy-Ryan and Felicity Abram. The woman to beat will be Switzerland's Nicola Spirig who won in Madrid after taking out April's European Championship.

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