Fireman still hot for America's Cup in change of pace for Team NZ cyclors

Team New Zealand's cross-code athletes Joe Sullivan and Simon van Velthooven are keen to stay in the America's Cup game as they merge back into everyday life.

The pair were used as cyclors to power the 50-foot foiling catamaran that won the Auld Mug in Bermuda in June.

Sullivan, a former Olympic gold medallist rower, took six weeks off after the Cup but has returned to his day job as a fireman.

Van Velthooven, a Commonwealth, world and Olympic cycling medallist, is looking to finally complete a university degree in rural valuation.

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"On my first week back we had a pretty substantial hotel fire in Auckland. We got everyone out safely but that was quite a change of lifestyle from Team New Zealand," Sullivan told CNN.

"My life's been in three completely different parts. It's like I've ticked off the dream jobs of a five-year-old in New Zealand: Olympics, America's Cup and a fireman."

What's next? "Well, the way the technology's going, maybe an astronaut in 20 years time!" he half-joked

Fame certainly hasn't changed his life. Sullivan says he's only been recognised once since his return to fire duties and that was by a Team NZ staffer while attending an incident near the syndicate's Auckland base.

The confirmed change from multihulls to monohulls for Team New Zealand's defence in Auckland in 2021 puts a slight question mark over their future in the Cup given their limited sailing experience, though Sullivan and van Velthooven have the engines that will still be required to help power the massive 75-foot boats planned.

They both appear eager to stay in the game as Emirates Team New Zealand start the process of sorting out their sailing crew for the next campaign.

"I haven't got a clue about my America's Cup future but I'm still fully committed to it. We're not in the loop on the design process so I just have to remain fit and ready," Sullivan told CNN.

His rowing strength saw him hired as a traditional grinder at the start of the last Cup period but he had to then learn to transfer his power to a bicycle when Team New Zealand went down that radical and successful route.

Van Velthooven was hired purely for his cycling prowess and was a key to getting the other cyclors up to speed. There has been a hint that cycle power could still be used to a degree in 2021 though confirmation of that will only come when Team New zealand reveal further detail of the new boats on November 30 with the class rule to be finalised by March 31 next year.

"I'd like to think that after sweating blood in Bermuda I'd be on the list to be considered," van Velthooven told CNN.

"I've still got a big motor and my heart still knows how to pump.

"The next boat will be mega, it's America's Cup so it'll be high-end performance, and they'll still need the horsepower. Plus, I feel I learned a lot just listening into the comms through the Cup in Bermuda."

 - Stuff