The penultimate round of the 2011 ITU World Cup series heads to Columbia this weekend, the first time the country has hosted a World Cup since 1992. This year it’s the eighth stop on the 2011 World Cup tour, and the second last, and big fields have turned out to race in this unique destination. At 6,300-ft elevation, many athletes have arrived early to get adjusted to the altitude.
In the women’s, three Japanese women will start in the top four, with Mariko Adachi in No. 1, Juri Ide with No. 3 and Tomoko Sakimoto No. 4. But there is a host of European and South American talent, as well as best ITU World Cup athlete in history – Vanessa Fernandes also on the start list. In the men’s, there is a strong American team that includes Matt Chrabot, Manuel Huerta, Jarrod Shoemaker and Andy Potts. But they also face a test with the in-form Brent McMahon (CAN) and Jose Miguel Perez (ESP), three-time Olympians Juraci Moreira (BRA) and Ivan Rana (ESP) and Colombia’s own Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero.
About the race: Guatape is situated on the edge of a lake that was created in the 1970’s when the government flooded the hilly area around it to create a hydroelectric dam. It has hosted ITU Pan American Cup events for the past three years, in 2009, 2010 and in June this year. The course starts with two-lap 1.5km lake swim with a pontoon start, before an four-lap 40km bike course and a four-lap 10km run along the waterfront.
Elite Women – Sunday 6 November – 07:00 (UTC/GMT -5) Click here for time in your area
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5km continuous swim in the lake, with a pontoon start. Likely to be a wetsuit swim.
Bike – Four-lap, 40km bike leg around Guatape
Run – Four-lap, 10km run along the waterfront and in the centre of Guatape.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
ITU World Cup Series returns to Colombia – It’s been a while since there was a World Cup event in Colombia (since 1992 to be exact), and the increase in South American talent will be evident this weekend. There are a total of 16 Colombians in the event, eight men and eight women, including Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero. The ITU development athlete recorded a career World Cup high of ninth in Monterrey earlier this year, and also raced in Edmonton, Tiszaujvaros and Huatulco. As well as home grown talent in Guatape, there will also be athletes from Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina.
Competitive women’s field – Good luck to those aiming to back the winner in either race, but the women’s is particulary hard with a host of triathletes hitting late season form. Juri Ide (JPN) is coming off an impressive win in Huatulco, while Mariko Adachi finished fifth in Tongyeong. Spain’s Marina Damlaimcourt and Zurine Rodriguez both broke through for their debut World Cup podiums, in Huatulco and Tongyeong respectively. Pamela Nascimento Oliveira (BRA) is coming off bronze at the Pan American Games, while Alexandra Razarenova (RUS) won the European U23 championships just last weekend. Not to be discounted is Frenchwoman Carole Peon who finished fourth in Tongyeong. Other women who already have world cup medals this year include Mateja Simic (SLO), Lisa Perterer (AUT) and Anne Haug (GER). Then there is regular top-10 Dextro Energy Triathlon Series finisher Vicky Holland (GBR), previous World Cup winner Vendula Frintova (CZE) and U23 world champion Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL). And don’t forget that Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes is also in the start list, the third race in her comeback.
The Stars & Stripes – As the battle for Team USA’s Olympic spots heats up, keep an eye on the nine-strong men’s team in Guatape. It includes Huatulco winner Matt Chrabot, Pan Am Games silver medallist Manuel Huerta, 2008 Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker and veteran Andy Potts. Potts, who hasn’t raced an ITU race in 2011, is on the start list and posted just last week on Twitter he was considering another Olympic push. The next official USAT qualifying event is the 2012 San Diego Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series round.
Past Guatape Winners
2011 ITU Pan American Cup
1. Maydelin Justo (CUB) 1. Jose Miguel Perez (ESP)
2010 South American Games
1. Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 1. Diogo Sclebin (BRA)
2010 ITU Pan American Cup
1. Flavia Diaz (CHI) 1. Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero (COL)
2009 ITU Pan American Cup
1. Maria Carmenza Morales (COL) 1. Ricardo Cardeno (COL)