Richard Murray is hoping to do well in the World Triathlon Series Grand final. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Triathlon hard man Richard Murray is on the cusp of becoming the first South African to claim an overall podium place in the World Triathlon Series when he lines up in the Grand Final in Rotterdam today.

Murray has brushed aside the disappointment of missing out on a medal at the Rio Olympics, where he finished fourth, to come out swinging in 2017.

At the beginning of the year Murray said he planned on having a bit of fun in 2017 and the lack of pressure has seemingly paid off.

He opened his campaign by winning the Cape Town World Cup while he picked up medals in three of the five WTS races he has competed in this year.

Currently third in the rankings, Murray needs to finish top four and ahead of Fernando Alarza of Spain for a guaranteed spot on the overall podium.

Spaniards Mario Mola and Javier Gomez are ranked first and second in the overall rankings and are firm favourites to claim the series title.

“The WTS wasn’t my focus for the season so if I finish in the top three overall it will be great, but like always I am just going to give it my best and the result will take care of itself,” Murray said.

“It is pretty cold here and we are going to have wet conditions. It'll make for interesting racing. The bike course has some corners and with the rain it'll be tricky.”

Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman, who won last year’s Grand Final in Cozumel, will be looking to move up one spot for an overall top-10 finish.

Last year Schoeman and Murray finished the season fourth and fifth in the overall rankings.

Wian Sullwald will be the third South African man to line up in the Grand Final to bring an end to a breakthrough year.

The former world junior champion landed a podium spot next to Schoeman and Murray at the Cape Town World Cup in February and will be looking to finish as close to the overall top-10. as possible.

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