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Four-time age-group world champ, Laura Siddall, sets sail for San Francisco to work with Matt Dixon

Laura Siddall (GBR) captures her second straight Olympic-distance Age-Group World Championship last year in London [photo: Marathon Photos]

Sunday will mark the final Easter Holiday weekend Laura Siddall (GBR) will celebrate in her adopted home of Australia – at least for the foreseeable future. The four-time age group World Champion is moving to San Francisco at the end of the month to continue a pro career that began in October, following her age-group win at the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championshipin Las Vegas.

The move is a giant step for the 33-year-old Yorkshire native who moved to Sydney in 2008 on a two-year work contract with Shell Oil. Siddall only discovered triathlon a year later when she was introduced to Bondi Fit and signed up for a beginner’s course coached by local legend Spot Anderson – a former pro triathlete and surf life saving standout.

Athletics was always a vital part of Siddall’s upbringing, as she regularly participated in track, netball, hockey and swimming, with her primary focus on the 400m hurdles and netball – representing England in both as a junior.

However, it is in triathlon that Siddall may have found her niche, capturing four age-group world titles since 2011, including the Sprint World Championships in Beijing (2011) – a race she finished second a year earlier in her debut, the Olympic-distance World Championships in Auckland (2012), and both the Olympic-distance World Championships in London and Ironman 70.3 World Championships last year.

Along the way, Siddall has loaded her trophy case full of age-group championship medals along the way – most notably her wins at the 2012 Noosa Triathlon and the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Hawaii.

“This is a natural progression for Laura,” said Anderson of his protégé. “She has proven time and time again that she has the genetics, talent and desire to succeed in this sport and it was only a matter of time that she made the logical decision to move on to the next level, and her relocating to the US will help her do just that.”

Anderson told TriRadar that he expects Siddall to not only do well in the pro ranks, but he also expects her to win – soon.

Siddall’s first hit out under her new pro license was a return to Noosa in October last year – a race she had impressively won her age group a year earlier. However several months of travelling abroad due to her racing – and winning – in both London and Las Vegas had taken its toll on Siddall as she finished exactly one minute off her previous year’s time.

“I realized off the back off London and Vegas that I was going to have to make some decisions on how I was going to proceed with the sport, and what direction I wanted to take my career,” Siddall told TriRadar while participating in the Outrun Cancer corporate treadmill marathon in Sydney last week. “I had to re-evaluate my goals and figure out how I was going to realise my dream of racing as a pro.

“I picked up the license in October and used Noosa as a kick out, as I just wanted to get the feel of racing with the pros with no pressure on me yet.”

Already a very accomplished cyclist and runner, Siddall will be joining Purple Patch Fitness coached by Matt Dixon who will help her continue her improvements on the swim and maximise her strengths on the bike and run.

“I love Bondi Fit and wouldn’t be here today making the decisions that I am making without Spot bringing me into the sport,” said Siddall. “It was a mutual decision with my coach that something needed to change and that I should get some fresh eyes on me.

Laura Siddall (GBR) captures the age-group title at the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas [photo: FinishersPix]

“I have been aware of Matt for a while and the results he has helped his athletes achieve, so I am looking forward to him helping take me to that next level.”

Dixon’s clientele docket includes Triathlon Plus columnist Emma-Kate Lidbury (GBR), Meredith Kessler (USA), Gina Crawford (NZL) and Anna Ross (NZL). So what is Siddall hoping to gain in from Dixon? And just what are her plans for 2014 and beyond?

“It’s very different racing as an age-grouper compared to racing as a professional, and I am very conscious that I have to start from the beginning again, and hopefully Matt can help speed up that process,” said Siddall.

“My immediate goal is just getting some experience racing,” she added. “I would love to make the 70.3 Worlds in Mont-Tremblant [Quebec, Canada] in September, but it’s more important for me to get a lot of races under my belt than just focus on points for one event at this stage, so at the moment I am looking at Wildflower in May and just taking it from there.”