World Cup action heats up with the third race of the circuit in Huatulco, Mexico, set for Sunday. This is the sixth year the tourist destination has been part of the World Cup calendar, and the scorching heat is part of the unique challenge facing athletes preparing to toe the line. An ocean swim and a tough hill in the middle of the bike course and at the start of the run loop will test the field, which includes nine London Olympians.
Austrian Olympian Lisa Perterer tops the women’s start list following a 12th-place finish in her 2013 season opener at the World Triathlon San Diego, another sunny locale. Perterer’s main competition may come in the form of two other Olympians, Pamela Oliveira (BRA) and Claudia Rivas (MEX), both of whom raced to podium finishes last year in Huatulco. The men’s race is open for the taking. Canadian Andrew Yorke enters the race as the top-ranked athlete in the World Triathlon Series on the men’s side, but Aurelien Raphael (FRA), Crisanto Grajales (MEX), Ivan Rana (ESP) and Bruno Matheus (BRA) will all push the pace.
ABOUT THE RACE: Hatulco is celebrating its sixth 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. Last year saw Flora Duffy (BER) and Simon De Cuyper (BEL) each earn their first World Cup titles ever.
Elite Women – Sunday 19 May – 08:00 (UTC/GMT -5) Time in your area
Elite Men – Sunday 19 May – 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: $68,400 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. Course map
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
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, adding an extra twist on the already tough course.
CANADIANS IN THE RACE
Past Huatulco ITU World Cup winners
2012 Flora Duffy (BEL) Simon De Cuyper (BEL)
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)