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ITU Sydney

World Championship Series starts Sunday.

On Sunday, the top guns of the ITU circuit will be in Sydney to battle it out of the first title of the seven race Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series.

In the men’s race, Canada’s Simon Whitfield makes a return to the city where he won the first ever Olympic triathlon gold medal in 2000. Fellow Canadian, Kyle Jones will join him in the field. Germany’s Jan Frodeno, who edged out Whitfield for the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics, will also be in the race, so maybe we might see another exciting sprint finish. Also look for Australian Brad Kahlefeldt to be in the mix – winner at the Mooloolaba World Cup a few weeks ago, France’s Laurent Vidal – won Oceania Championships in Wellington one month ago, along with New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmell.

For the women, if Australian Emma Moffatt’s sore shoulder keeps her out (broke her shoulder last month but she might be healthy enough to race) of the lead pack at the first transition, look for Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf and Sweden’s Lisa Norden to take advantage on the bike. They’re two of the strongest cyclists in the field and they’ve worked together in the past to put a gap on the stronger runners. Norden finished second to Moffatt in last year’s world rankings, posting five podium finishes throughout the year, including a win at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Yokohama. Ryf finished fourth in the standings last year, highlighted by third-place showings in Washington D.C. and Hamburg. Also look out for New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt, who is fresh off a win at the Oceania Championship in Wellington last month. Kathy Tremblay of Montreal will be the lone Canadian representative, while Victoria’s Kirsten Sweetland pulled out of the race.

“With some pain in my knee that has been lingering since before Mooloolaba we have decided to fly home, rest up and get fit for the bulk of the season. It is early yet and I do not want to take any risks,” said Sweetland on her blog. “I had a MRI today to rule out anything major and all looks good. I am sad to miss Sydney but I know that it is really the best thing for me.”

The race will be broadcast live on www.triathlon.org/tv. Live coverage starts at 7 am local time on Sunday.

Elite Men Start List.

Elite Women Start List.