The ITU Triathlon World Cup Series returns to Mexico for the second time in 2011, with the always sunny Huatulco hosting the sixth World Cup event this year. It’s an exciting year for triathlon in Mexico with both World Cup events and the Pan American Games, with the triathlon event in Puerto Vallarta, later this month.
The holiday hotspot of Huatulco, in southern Oaxaca has been a World Cup event since 2008 and there are two of the men’s previous champions in this year’s field, inaugural champion Kris Gemmell and 2009 winner Matt Chrabot. But they will face a big challenge from Portugal’s Joao Silva, who was unstoppable in the final 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon Series event in Yokohama just a few weeks ago.
In the women’s race, with two-time defending champion Ai Ueda out the field might be a little more open – except that the most successful athlete in ITU World Cup history is back. Vanessa Fernandes (POR) ended her 12-month break from triathlon in Yokohama, and now returns to the series where she’s had so much success. Read the full preview here.
About the race: Huatulco is celebrating its fourth straight year on the ITU World Cup calendar and its quickly become an athlete favourite thanks to its scenic but tough course. In its first year, Kiwis swept the podium thanks to Kris Gemmell and Samantha Warriner. In 2009 Matt Chrabot (USA) and Ai Ueda (JPN) both claimed their first ITU World Cup wins here. In 2010, Ueda defended her title while the eventual 2010 ITU World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP) took out the men’s race.
Elite Women – Sunday, October 9 – 8:00am (UTC/GMT -5)
Elite Men – Sunday, October 9 – 10:45am (UTC/GMT -5)
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
$50,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5 kilometre swim in Santa Cruz bay, with a standing sprint beach start.
Bike – Eight-lap, 40km bike leg through the centre of town, with a hill and a few technical turns.
Run – Four-lap, 10km run with a small hill at the start.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Fernandes returns to World Cup field – Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes is one of the all-time ITU legends but took a break from triathlon at the start of this year, before returning to racing in Yokohama a few weeks ago. Although she hadn’t raced an ITU race in over 12 months she finished a respectable 26th. Now, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist returns to World Cup racing hoping to add to her incredible 20 World Cup titles. The last World Cup event she won was in Madrid in 2008.
Women with World Cup form – There are five women in the Huatulco field who already have World Cup medals this year, and the USA’s Sarah Haskins already has a win in Mexico. Haskins has spent most of 2011 racing in America, but she won her only World Cup race in Monterrey. Ireland’s Aileen Morrison claimed a silver medal in Ishigaki this year and is coming off an excellent fourth place in Yokohama. There are two of the three Edmonton medallists in the field, Slovenia’s Mateja Simic and Austria’s Lisa Perterer and Italy’s Annamaria Mazzetti claimed silver in in Tiszaujvaros.
Battle of the men’s medallists – There are two former champions in the men’s field on Sunday, New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell (2008) and the USA’s Matt Chrabot (2009). It was the debut World Cup win for both and Chrabot’s 2009 win was huge, beating the next best finisher – Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild – by more than two minutes. He then finished third in 2010, while Wild finished second again. Both Chrabot and Wild are on the start list, and Chrabot is coming off a season-best fifth place at Yokohama. There is also another two 2011 World Cup winners in the field, New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty and Canada’s Brent McMahon. Docherty triumphed in Edmonton, while McMahon claimed his debut win in Tiszaujvaros. The man wearing the No.1 though is Portugal’s Joao Silva, who claimed his debut Dextro Energy Triathlon Series win in Yokohama last month. He has form in Mexico too, he claimed his first World Cup win in Monterrey last year.
Past Huatulco ITU World Cup winners
2010 Ai Ueda (JPN) 1:59:51 Javier Gomez (ESP) 1:49:08
2009 Ai Ueda (JPN) 2:12:47 Matt Chrabot (USA) 1:57:22
2008 Samantha Warriner (NZL) 2:14:02 Kris Gemmell (NZL) 2:03:23