It’s the third year in a row that Sydney opens the ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS), and the first year it’s kicked off an Olympic year. In the two years since Sydney has been part of the WTS, it has hosted some incredible finishes including Javier Gomez’s comeback from a bike crash last year to claim what he described as his toughest ever win.
This year, with no Brownlee brothers or Gomez, the men’s podium is wide open, with contenders like Alexander Bruykhankov, David Hauss, Laurent Vidal, Brad Kahlefeldt, Brendan Sexton, William Clarke and Steffen Justus lining up to add their name to the winners list. In the women’s race, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt is still the one to beat and will wear No.1, but she will face a challenge from a host of Australian women aiming to finally win their home race and stake their claim for an Olympics spot. While Emma Moffatt has been pre-selected, there is Emma Jackson, Emma Snowsill and Erin Densham to keep an eye on. Reigning ITU World Champion Helen Jenkins will make her season debut, while also watch series winners Lisa Norden, Barbara Riveros Diaz and Nicola Spirig.
|Canadians in the race|
About the race:
Sydney is the largest city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney has a metropolitan area population of approximately 4.34 million and an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres. Sydney has played host to some important triathlon moments, but the biggest was the 2000 Olympic Games when triathlon made its debut. Canadian Simon Whitfield and Switzerland’s Brigitte McMahon won the Gold medals. This year the course has changed slightly, the bike leg takes a turn past Sydney beautiful botanic gardens, and down to the picturesque Mrs Macquaries Chair look out.
Elite Women – Saturday 14 April – 7:35am (UTC/GMT +10) Click here for time in your area
Elite Women – Saturday 14 April – 10:25am (UTC/GMT +10)
$170,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim (1.5km) – Athletes dive into Farm Cove off a pontoon and will swim two laps. Wetsuit use to be determined on race day.
Bike (40km) – After transitioning to the bike in front of the Opera House, athletes will begin the eight-lap bike course by riding up Macquarie Street, then left down Art Gallery Road and Mrs Macquaries Road to the turnaround spot at Mrs Macquaries Chair. Athletes then ride back through transition, and down Macquarie Street again, but only as fair as Hunter Street before the turnaround spot, and then complete the loop again.
Run (10km) – Athletes will transition to the run at T2 on College Street and run four laps of a loop down Macquarie Street and Art Gallery Road, before coming through the finish line on College Street, just in front of St Mary’s Cathedral.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Olympic qualifying – As one of only three WTS events 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. In the women’s field, the battle for eighth place in the women’s is between Switzerland and Germany, given where each NOC is placed on the list is down to where their third athlete is – it sets up a direct battle between Daniela Ryf and Kathrin Muller. Ryf jumped ahead of Muller in Mooloolaba, but only by 37 points. In the men’s race, it’s currently a three-way battle between Canada, Russia and Portugal for places seven and eight. All the Canadians need to do well, as they are grouped closely together on the rankings points, while it’s Joao Pereira for Portugal and Ivan Vasiliev from Russia who are the third men from their respective countries, and therefore hold the key to claiming three spots. It’s also the final chance New Zealand athletes to earn direct nomination to their Olympic team. The criteria is the first Kiwi to cross the line, but they must finish in the top-8. There is one women’s and one men’s spot on the line, the rest will be determined by selector’s discretion.
Men’s Medals – Last year Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee and Javier Gomez collectively filled six of the eight series winners spots. This year they have opted out of Sydney, which opens it up for Alexander Bruykhankov to break his WTS winless streak. The big Russian has won five series medals since 2009 (four silver and one bronze), the most by an athlete who has not yet recorded a series win. Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins had collected six other medals (four bronze and two silver), before her first gold in London in 2011. France’s David Hauss and Laurent Vidal have also both claimed podium medals and are in red-hot form after Mooloolaba. Neither Russia or France have won a WTS title. Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt and Brendan Sexton will be aiming to become the first Australian men to win at home, although in series history it’s been a difficult thing to do. Only Alistair Brownlee, Helen Jenkins and Emma Moffatt have done it in London and the Gold Coast respectively.
Form versus History – In the women’s race, it’s very much set as a battle between those athletes in form, like Hewitt, Emma Jackson, Emma Moffatt, Lisa Norden, Gwen Jorgensen, Liz Blatchford, and those battling to regain it. Chief among them is the reigning Olympic champion Emma Snowsill. While she currently holds down the third spot for Australia on the Olympic points list, a winless 2011 season has put pressure on her just to make the Australian Olympic team for London. Snowsill didn’t compete in Mooloolaba due to a virus, and all eyes will be on her in Sydney. She can certainly take inspiration from those women who are now in form after Mooloolaba, Densham had heart surgery after the Beijing Olympic Games but crushed the field just two weeks ago to claim her second career World Cup win. While Nicola Spirig and Daniela Ryf are WTS winners who struggled with injury in 2011, but bounced back to silver and 6th place respectively in Mooloolaba.
2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Sydney
1. Paula Findlay (CAN) 1. Javier Gomez (ESP)
2. Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 2. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 3. Sven Riederer (SUI)
2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Sydney
1. Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) 1. Bevan Docherty (NZL)
2. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2. Alexander Bruykhankov (RUS)
3. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 3. David Hauss (FRA)