It’s the sixth year in a row that Mooloolaba will open the ITU World Cup season, which makes it the second time that it’s opened an Olympic year. Back in 2008, three-time ITU World Champion Emma Snowsill took out the Mooloolaba title and went on to win Gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, while two-time ITU World Champion Javier Gomez took the men’s and then finished fourth in Beijing.
Andrea Hewitt (NZL) was unstoppable in the final few months of 2011 and will make her 2012 season debut in Mooloolaba, but with athletes like Emma Moffatt, Lisa Norden, Emma Snowsill, Nicola Spirig and Gwen Jorgensen on the start line, it’s shaping as a brilliant opening women’s race. In the men’s, Brad Kahlefeldt will be aiming for his third consecutive win in Mooloolaba. Those trying to take it off him include Brendan Sexton, Courtney Atkinson, Laurent Vidal, David Hauss, Steffen Justus and William Clarke.
About the race:
Mooloolaba is a small beachside community on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, an hour north of Brisbane. The Olympic distance event is the centre piece of a three-day multisport festival, with 9000 competitors participating. The course starts with a swim in the Pacific Ocean, while the bike leg takes in the green hinterland, followed by a run that has ocean views the entire way.
Elite Men – Saturday, March 24 – 3:00pm (UTC/GMT + 10) Click here for time in your area
Elite Women – Sunday, March 25 – 12:45pm (UTC/GMT + 10)
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
$50,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim – One-lap, 1.5-kilometre sea swim with a mass beach start.
Bike – Seven-lap, 40-kilometre leg that coasts along the Mooloolaba waterfront, along Mooloolaba Esplanade and Alexandra Parade, over the challenging Alex Hill.
Run – Four-lap, 10-kilometre run along the waterfront, also along Mooloolaba Esplanade and Alex Hill.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Olympic qualifying – The official Olympic qualifying period ends on May 31st, which means the battle on both sides of ITU’s qualification procedure is heating up. Athletes aim to score points to qualify a place for their National Federation, and then aim to meet their individual NFs qualification criteria so they can be the athletes to fill those places. Click here for the Olympic Qualifying 101. In Mooloolaba, there are a number of interesting points battles to keep an eye on. The Canadian men are trying to nudge themselves back into the top eight men’s teams, and therefore Kyle Jones and Brent McMahon will be hoping to do well. For more detail on the current qualifying simulation, please click here.
Team ITU’s 2012 Mooloolaba – ITU’s development programme celebrated it’s five-year anniversary in 2011, and this year it’s helping more athletes from developing National Federations not only make it to the World Cup stage, but be competitive there. The team in Mooloolaba includes Slovenia’s Mateja Simic who is aiming to be her countries first Olympic triathlete in London, Israel’s Fanny Beisaron, Dan Alterman and Ron Darmon, Estonia’s Aleksandr Latin and Herve Banti from Monaco. The team also welcomes two first time members of Team ITU in Mooloolaba, Swedish triathlete Per Wangel and Slovakia’s Richard Varga.
The Women’s Race – Andrea Hewitt finished 2011 as the female triathlete to beat, but just behind her were more women also scoring career bests, Melanie Annaheim (SUI) with bronze at the Beijing Grand Final, Kate McIlroy (NZL) with bronze in Yokohama, Gwen Jorgensen claimed her first series medal and World Cup win, while Lisa Norden and Emma Moffatt dusted off early season cobwebs. But what’s interesting in Mooloolaba is the women who weren’t necessarily in form late last year, through injury or otherwise, like Emma Snowsill, Daniela Ryf and Nicola Spirig. It was the first time that Snowsill went through a season without a win since 2002 (she didn’t compete in 2004). Both Spirig and Ryf are World Cup and WTS winners who battled injury last year. All are competing in their first race this year, and can’t be written off.
PAST MOOLOOLABA WINNERS
2011 Nicky Samuels (NZL) Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS)
2010 Vendula Frintova (CZE) Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS)
2009 Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) Courtney Atkinson (AUS)
2008 Emma Snowsill (AUS) Javier Gomez (ESP)
2007 Emma Snowsill (AUS) Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS)
2006 Annabel Luxford (AUS) Bevan Docherty (NZL)
2005 Loretta Harrop (AUS) Simon Thompson (AUS)