ITU Madrid Preview
This race marks the end of Olympic Qualification for London 2012.
This year marks the 10th year of an ITU race in Madrid, from its start as a European Cup venue, then World Cup, and then the ITU World Triathlon Series since its start in 2009. This year it’s also special because it’s where the London 2012 Olympic Games qualification period started two years ago and also where it ends, as the final race before May 31st. But aside from the Olympic dreams that could be decided this weekend, there are also two elite titles on the line, and the two fields assembled mean both races are going to come down to the wire.
Sarah-Anne Brault, Lauren Campbell, Chantell Widney, and Brent McMahon will be racing.
About the race:
Madrid has an impressive triathlon history, having hosted an ITU Triathlon World Cup from 2003 from 2009 – when it then became one of the host cities for the first season of the ITU World Triathlon Series. The unique course winds its way through Casa de Campo park in central Madrid, offering a quick sightseeing crash course around one of Europe’s most dynamic cities. Sitting at almost 700m above sea level, Madrid’s climate is dry with very warm afternoons and cool nights during summer.
Elite Women – Saturday 26 May – 17:45 (UTC/GMT + 2) Click here for time in your area
Elite Men – Sunday 27 May – 13:55 (UTC/GMT + 2)
Click here for women’s start list
Click here for men’s start list
Live video coverage be available on race day at triathlonlive.tv or at @triathlonlive on Twitter.
Canadians should check out cbcsports.ca for the live online broadcast.
May 26 – Women Madrid 11:40- 1:50 pm EST
May 27 – Men Madrid 7:50 am- 10:00 am EST
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY: $170,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim (1.5km) – Athletes dive into Casa de Campo lake off a pontoon and will swim 2 laps. Wetsuits are not expected.
Bike (40km) – After transitioning to the bike, athletes will set off on an 8-lap bike course around the park, featuring a 12% grade climb on each lap. Once summiting the 400m climb, the rest of each bike lap is mostly downhill with a few rolling hills.
Run (10km) – The 4-lap run course, also around Casa de Campo Park, is mostly flat and finishes back at the lake.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Olympic qualifying – As the final ITU event before the Olympic qualifying period closes, it’s a crucial race in terms of just which National Olympic Committees will secure places, and how many, in London. Click here for the Olympic Qualifying 101. While the Olympic simulation after this race might not be the final list of which NOCs are represented in London, as it’s up to the individual NFs and NOCs to decide who they send, it will be a pretty good indication. With that in mind, the key qualifying action to watch in the women’s field includes the race to see which nations can qualify three spots. Right now New Zealand and Germany sit in seventh and eighth out of eight possible NOCs who can qualify three athletes – with Switzerland in ninth, but that could all change on Saturday in Spain. The final few spots in the 55 strong field will also be decided, right now only 40 points separate Mateja Simic (SLO), Maaike Caelers (NED), Vendula Frintova (CZE) and Margit Vanek (HUN), while the Europe New Flag spot will also be decided – at the moment it’s Lisa Perterer (AUT) leading Kaisa Lehtonen (FIN) and Elizabeth May (LUX). In the men’s race, two nations are aiming to secure the final place in the list of NOCs who can field the maximum, Canada and Portugal. While in other individual battles, the Europe New Flag is set to come down to either Richard Varga (SVK) or Dan Alterman (ISR), while Mehdi Essadiq (MAR) is trying to chase down Christopher Felgate (ZIM) in the Africa New Flag. And the final few spots in the field of 55 is also interesting, Peters Croes (BEL) is just ahead of Gonzalo Tellechea (ARG), but if Tellechea can pull ahead that might also change the Americas New Flag spot.
The Men’s Race – Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) might be the standout favourite in the men’s race, and will certainly be aiming to keep the Brownlee name on top of the Madrid podium for the fourth straight year, but there is a host of men trying to create their own history. First up is Sven Riederer (SUI), who claimed his fifth series medal last week in San Diego – which makes him equal most successful man in series history yet to record a win. He only finished three seconds behind Jonathan Brownlee in the race last week, and has run him down before, at last year’s Beijing Grand Final. Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) is the other man to have five series medals, and he’s also a threat – he finished ahead of Jonathan in London last year. Then there is the in-form Laurent Vidal and David Hauss, who have both claimed career-first ITU World Cup wins in 2012, and are looking to be the first Frenchman to win a series title. Spain’s Mario Mola is also a star on the rise, he’s finished fourth in Mooloolaba and San Diego so far this year and seems primed to claim his first series podium.
The Women’s Race – Andrea Hewitt (NZL) missed only her second series race in series history by sitting out San Diego, but that does nothing to affect her favouritism for Madrid. Hewitt’s incredible run of podium finishes hasn’t been matched over the past six months, in fact the last time she wasn’t on an ITU podium was in London last year, when she finished 6th. She’s also a previous Madrid winner, it’s where she claimed her first series win back in 2009 and could take the lead in the overall series rankings with a win. But Hewitt isn’t the only one in form. Nicola Spirig (SUI) won Madrid in 2010, endured a tough 2011, but is off to a brilliant start to the Olympic year with a silver medal in Mooloolaba, a fifth place in Sydney and a European Championship win. The two women that shared the podium with Spirig in Eilat are also ones to watch, Ainhoa Murua (ESP) finished sixth in Sydney before going on to silver in Israel while Emmie Charayron (FRA) has great history in the Spanish capital. She won silver here in 2009, before putting in another classy run last year to claim bronze. There are also a host of other athletes in form, like Jessica Harrison (FRA), Anne Haug (GER) and Vicky Holland (GBR) and those looking to find it including Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI), Emma Jackson (AUS) and Daniela Ryf (SUI).
PREVIOUS MADRID WINNERS
ITU World Triathlon Series Winners
Elite Women Elite Men
2011 Paula Findlay (CAN) Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2010 Nicola Spirig (SUI) Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2009 Andrea Hewitt (NZL) Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
ITU World Cup Winners
Elite Women Elite Men
2008 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Javier Gomez (ESP)
2007 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Filip Ospaly (CZE)
2006 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Javier Gomez (ESP)
2005 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Tim Don (GBR)
2004 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Frederic Belaubre (FRA)
2003 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Hunter Kemper (USA)