The third round of the ITU World Cup season returns to Huatulco this year, for the final world cup event within the Olympic Qualification period. It’s the fifth year that Huatulco has hosted a World Cup event and it’s one of the toughest courses, with a technical and steep hill.
This year, both the Elite Women’s and Men’s races are highlighted by athletes chasing those valuable Olympic qualifying points and a breakthrough World Cup win. South Africa’s Gillian Sanders and Argentina’s Gonzalo Raul Tellechea will wear the respective No.1 for the first time in an ITU World Cup, while the other contenders are a mix of rising stars and veterans like Line Jensen (DEN), Flora Duffy (BER), Claudia Rivas (MEX), Pamela Oliveira (BRA), Marina Damlaimcourt (ESP), Erhard Wolfaardt (RSA), Tyler Butterfield (BER) Ryan Sissons (NZL), Bruno Pais (POR), Reinaldo Colucci (BRA), Diogo Sclebin (BRA), and Ivan Rana (ESP). Read the full preview here.
Hatulco is celebrating its fifth straight year on the ITU World Cup calendar and its quickly become an athlete favourite thanks to its scenic but tough course, that includes tough hills on both the bike and run. In its first year, Kiwis swept the podium thanks to Kris Gemmell and Samantha Warriner. In 2009 Matt Chrabot (USA) and Ai Ueda (JPN) both claimed their first ITU World Cup wins here. In 2010, Ueda defended her title while the eventual 2010 ITU World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP) took out the men’s race. In 2011, Chrabot became the first man to win two titles here, while Juri Ide kept the women’s title in Japan.
CANADIANS IN THE RACE:
Manon Letourneau, Andrew Yorke, Andrew McCartney, and Matthew Sharpe.
Elite Women – Sunday May 6 – 8:00 (UTC/GMT -5) Click here for time in your area
Elite Men – Sunday May 6 – 10:45 (UTC/GMT -5)
Live text coverage from Huatulco will be available on race day at triathlon.org/live or at @triathlonlive on Twitter.
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
$50,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5 kilometre swim in Santa Cruz bay, with a standing sprint beach start.
Bike – Eight-lap, 40km bike leg through the centre of town, that is climbing most of the way including a major hill, and some technical turns.
Run – Four-lap, 10km run with two hills in each lap.
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 score points to qualify a place for their National Federation, and then aim to meet their individual NFs qualification criteria to secure their spot on the London 2012 start line. Click here for the Olympic Qualifying 101. In terms of the women’s field, there is a host of athletes either on the edge or just outside the Olympic simulation right now racing in Huatulco, including Line Jensen (DEN), Flora Duffy (BER), Claudia Rivas (MEX), Pamela Oliveira (BRA), Elizabeth Bravo (ECU), Agnieszka Jerzyk (POL), Fabienne Saint Louis (MRI), Mateja Simic (SLO), Margit Vanek (HUN), Lydia Waldmuller (AUT), Alexandra Razeranova (RUS), Radka Vodickova (CZE) and Katrien Verstuyft (BEL). A good result in Huatulco could help seal that berth for their National Olympic Committee (NOC). In the men’s, it’s Argentina’s Gonzalo Raul Tellechea, Italy’s Davide Uccellari, Mexico’s Arturo Garza, and ermuda’s Tyler Butterfield who are aiming to stay in the picture. In terms of the NOCs who can send the maximum of eight athletes, Marina Damlaimcourt will be aiming to secure Spain’s three with a good performance, while Joao Pereira and Ryan Sissons will be aiming to pull Portugal and New Zealand further away from Australia and Canada.
The course – It’s known as one of the toughest courses on the ITU World Cup circuit, the bike is eight laps where the majority is climbing – including one major hill with a slope of 24%, and that’s followed by the run which has another two significant hills over four laps. However, it hasn’t always been a breakaway that has led to a win at this Mexican stop. Both races in 2008 were decided on the run, as was Ai Ueda’s double in 2009 and 2010 and Javier Gomez’s win in 2010, and both victories last year. It was only in 2009 that Matt Chrabot managed to make a breakaway stick, putting over two minutes on the field heading into T2 and hanging on for his first World Cup win. Also keep an eye on the weather, Huatulco is known for its steamy temperatures but this year the race is being held in May, rather than later in the year.
Team ITU – Huatulco marks the final Team ITU event for 2012. The primary objective of the development programme is to provide support, resources and expertise to athletes from emerging and developing National Federations, who have the potential to qualify for London 2012, to compete at a World Cup level. The athletes invited to Huatulco are Mateja Simic (SLO), Elizabeth Bravo (ECU), Fabienne St Louis (MRI), Yuliya Yelistratrova (UKR), Leonardo Chacon (CRC), Ognjen Stojanovic (SRB), Jason Wilson (BAR) and Carlos Quinchara (COL). The support team includes ITU Development Director Libby Burrell, world class coaches Gale Bernhardt, Roberto Solano, David Bardi, bike mechanic Jeff Donaldson and physiotherapist Brian Quale.
Past Huatulco ITU World Cup winners
2011 Juri Ide (JPN) Matt Chrabot (USA)
2010 Ai Ueda (JPN) Javier Gomez (ESP)
2009 Ai Ueda (JPN) Matt Chrabot (USA)
2008 Samantha Warriner (NZL) Kris Gemmell (NZL)