Previewing ITU World Triathlon Series Stockholm
Elite Sprint races go Saturday August 25, Elite Mixed Relay on Sunday.
The Olympic Games may be a wrap for another four years, but racing action is far from over in the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series. With just three events left on this year’s circuit, competition continues with the sixth stop in Stockholm this weekend. In its ITU World Triathlon Series debut, Stockholm will play host to a slew of Olympians on a quick sprint distance course, which consists of a one-lap 750km swim, five 4km loops on the bike and two 2.5km run laps. With important world championships points on the line, and some strong athletes out of the line up, Stockholm could be a pivotal race in terms of series points.
While individuals will be chasing important world ranking points, a world championship will also be decided in Stockholm in the Mixed Relay event. With numerous lead changes, an abundance of action on the course, and unabashed team pride, the event can’t be missed.
About the race:
This marks the first time Stockholm has hosted an ITU World Championship Series event. It is one of two sprint distances on the eight-city circuit. Stockholm has previously hosted one ITU event and one ETU event. The first was European Triathlon Championships in 1995 and the second was Stockholm ITU Triathlon World Cup two years later. Several roads will shut down for the race events, as transition is set up in front of the beautiful Stockholm Palace and athletes bike through Old Town Stockholm in the heart of the city.
Elite Men – Saturday 25 August – 14:50 (UTC/GMT + 2) Click here to time in your area
Elite Women – Saturday 25 August – 16:45 (UTC/GMT + 2)
Elite Mixed Relay – Sunday 26 August – 14:45 (UTC/GMT + 2)
Live video coverage from Hamburg be available on race day at triathlonlive.tv or at @triathlonlive on Twitter.
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY: $170,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim (750m) – Off a pontoon start, athletes will swim one 750m lap.
Bike (20km) – Generally flat profile with no noteworthy climbs. There are four circuits of 5km to ride. The route is technically demanding, due to the many changes of direction and tight turns. Very good tarmac surface.
Run (5km) – Off the bike, athletes will transition again in front of Stockholm Palace and run two laps of a 2.5km run course.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
The London effect – With a host of 2012 Olympians slated to appear in both the men’s and women’s races, the Olympics will no doubt play an important factor in the outcome of the Stockhom podiums. Half the distance than the Olympic race, only time will tell if athletes have recovered in time to race again after peaking in London less than a month ago. Likewise, Bruised egos make also look for redemption in a WTS win, or psyches could be too far damaged to recover the 2012 season.
All eyes will be on Sweden’s own Lisa Norden, who was part of the ferocious sprint to the line at the Olympics just a few weeks ago and celebrates a homecoming with Olympic silver. But don’t count out Olympic bronze medallist Densham, who hammered her way to gold in the sprint in Hamburg.
Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), fresh off Olympic bronze, will be gunning for points for his first world title. However, he’ll face the likes of two-time ITU world champion Javier Gomez (ESP), who recently out-ran Brownlee in London for silver. The question is if both men have recovered enough to hold off Russians Alexander Bryukhankov and Dmitry Polyanskiy, who fell shy of the podium in London.
Mixed Relay World Championships – While individuals will be chasing important world ranking points, a world championship will also be decided in Stockholm in the Mixed Relay event. With numerous lead changes, an abundance of action on the course, and unabashed team pride, the event can’t be missed.
Participating National Federations will elect two women and men to compete in order of female-male-female-male. Each athlete will complete a 300m swim, 6km bike and 2km run. After each athlete finishes his or her swim-bike-run segment he or she will tag the next athlete in the relay to make the exchange.
This year marks the fourth World Championships in the mixed relay event. While Great Britain is the reigning world champion, Switzerland has been responsible for the two previous wins. Look for a tough battle as Switzerland attempts to reclaim the title.
Race for World Championship points – With the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series in the second half of the season, there are only three more opportunities to gain valuable world championships points. Some important athletes are missing from the line up, such as top ranked Andrea Hewitt. Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins, who is fourth on the charts and ninth-placed Sarah Groff (USA) all opted not to compete. With important world championships points on the line, and these athletes out, Erin Densham, Lisa Norden, Emma Moffatt, Emma Jackson, Anne Haug could claim precious points in their absence.
Similar to the women’s race, critical points are on the line in the men’s competition. Jonathan Brownlee, however, has been unstoppable in the sprint distance, having won the sprint championships in Lausanne for the last two years. With key players such as Alistair Brownlee (GBR), Bevan Docherty (NZL), and Richard Murray (RSA) missing, other athletes such as Gomez, Steffen Justus (GER), and the French duo of Laurent Vidal and David Hauss have the opportunity to move up in the rankings.