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ITU Ishigaki World Cup Preview

Sweetland is ready to race Sunday along with athletes from 32 other countries.

The second round of the 2011 ITU Triathlon World Cup series is set in Ishigaki, a scenic southwestern island in Japan. A total of 129 athletes from 33 nations will line up on the starting grids for this Sunday’s races.

Three members of the ITU Gold Group, Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI), Helen Jenkins (GBR) and Mariko Adachi (JPN), are considered as the favorites in the women’s field. They all competed in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Sydney last week, yet Riveros Diaz scored a far better result than the others, finishing second after Canadian Paula Findlay by two seconds.

A very determined Kirsten Sweetland, who crashed during the bike in Sydney last weekend, is hungry to get back at it and will be the lone Canadian at the race. Read her Sydney post-race blog here.

The men’s field will be very close with a group of emerging talents to line up along with 2002 ITU World Champion Ivan Rana (ESP). Last year’s Asian Games Champion Yuichi Hosoda and silver medallist Ryosuke Yamamoto are vying for the World Cup title on home soil. Other strong contenders to watch for include Russian Ivan Vasiliev and Aussie James Seear.

About the race:

The Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup is the longest running ITU World Cup event, having been held every year since 1996. The island, approximately 2,000km southwest of Tokyo, becomes a triathlon mecca in Japan’s triathlon scene over the years of development, drawing over 1,600 age-group triathletes from all over the region.  The emerald green ocean welcomes athletes every year.


Elite women start – Sunday, April 17 – 1:10 p.m. (UTC/GMT +9)
Elite men start – Sunday, April 17 – 3:45 p.m. (UTC/GMT +9)

ITU homepage: www.triathlon.org


Follow @triathlonlive on Twitter for live text updates on the race day.

$50,000 USD (equal for men & women)

Swim – Two-lap, 1.5k swim in Tonoshiro Fishery Harbor
Bike – Seven-lap, a technical 40k leg with athletes riding up and over a large bridge
Run – Three-lap, 10k run including the same hills of the bridge

ITU Top Contenders in women’s field ITU Gold Group athlete Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI), who finished 2nd in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series opener last week, is a heavy favourite in the women’s field. Another Gold Group athlete Helen Jenkins (GBR) crashed on bike in Sydney, and her performance depends on how much she has recovered by this weekend. Riveros Diaz and Jenkins finished in 6th and 4th in the 2010 final standings respectively.

Rising Japan’s Athletes aims for the podium – The Japanese squad is vying for podium spots on home soil.  In the women’s field, Japan’s ace and the Asian Games champion Mariko Adachi finished 19th in Sydney, while 2010 Huatulco ITU Triathlon World Cup winner Ai Ueda came in 7th. 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Akane Tsuchihashi, 3-time Olympian and defending champion Kiyomi Niwata, and Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic champion Yuka Sato are also strong contenders. In men’s field, 2010 Asian Games champion Yuichi Hosoda and Ryosuke Yamamoto, 2010 national champion and the Asian Games silver medallist, headline the men’s team.

Wide Open men’s field The men’s field will be very close with a group of emerging talents to line up along with 2002 ITU World Champion Ivan Rana (ESP).  Ivan Vasiliev (RUS), who led the Sydney race after the swim, is set to lead a top group. His teammate Vladimir Turbaevskiy (RUS) is another to watch, finishing 20th at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final Budapest last year. Other strong contenders are 3-time Olympian Hunter Kemper (USA), James Seear (AUS), who was 3rd in the 2010 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup, and Andreas Giglmayr (AUT), who came in 30th in Sydney last week.

2010     Kiyomi Niwata (JPN), Valentin Meshcheryakov (RUS)
2009     Juri Ide (JPN), Courtney Atkinson (AUS)
2008     Emma Snowsill (AUS), Simon Whitfield (CAN)
2007     Vanessa Fernandes (POR), Courtney Atkinson (AUS)
2006     Debbie Tanner (NZL), Courtney Atkinson (AUS)