Seems like you almost need to have an Olympic medal in your trophy case to have a chance of getting on the podium in this year’s ITU Dextro Energy World Championship Series (WCS). While that may be a bit of an exaggeration, the reality is that Beijing Olympic medalists (Jan Frodeno, Bevan Docherty, Simon Whitfield and Emma Moffatt) have four medals and two overall victories in the first two World Championships Series races. The quality of racing continues to rise every year and the depth of field for 2010 has been nothing short of astonishing.
“The Sydney and Seoul world championship races were like mini-world championships in terms of depth and intensity of racing,” said Canada’s Simon Whitfield.
Whitfield headed to the season opener in Sydney, Australia with a mixture of nerves, excitement and warm memories from his first major victory on the course at the 2000 Olympic games. Whitfield’s spring was incredibly busy balancing winter training camps, Vancouver winter Olympic and sponsor commitments, as well as the excitement of the birth of his second daughter.
“Few people are able to balance the many important roles that Simon does and still race at such an incredibly high level,” said Triathlon Canada Executive Director Alan Trivett. After solid winter training, Whitfield headed to Sydney to race for the first time since he won there a decade ago.
Geoff Whitfield, Simon’s father, was back in the stands to support his son ten years later, and he marveled at how his son has matured in the ten years since the victory. Whitfield finished just seconds off the podium in Sydney, with New Zealand’s Bevan Docherty winning, followed by Russian Alexander Brukhankov and France’s David Hauss.
“I was a bit rusty, but all in all quite pleased with a fifth place finish for my first race of the year,” said Whitfield. Oakville’s Kyle Jones continued to deal with a recurring abdominal strain that forced him to pull out on the run.
On the women’s side, little 22-year-old Chilean Barbara Riveras ran away from Beijing Olympians Andrea Hewitt (New Zealand) and Emma Moffatt (Australia) to win her first world championship series race in an incredible three-woman battle over the final 5 km of the run course.
“I still can’t believe that I was able to get onto the podium in such a competitive early season race,” said Raveras. Canadian Olympian Kathy Tremblay came off the bike with the leaders then fell back on the run to finish 30th. Next year ITU plans to have 5,000 age groupers racing on the Sydney course, with the bike phase scheduled to go over the historic Sydney Bridge.
Sydney World Championship Series Race 1 (men)
- Bevan Docherty NZL 1:51:27
- Alexander Brukhankov RUS 1:51:33
- David Hauss FRA 1:51:34
- Dmitry Polyansky RUS 1:51:40
- Simon Whitfield CAN 1:51:42
- Tony Moulai FRA 1:51:49
- Greg Bennett AUS 1:51:53
- Laurent Vidal FRA 1:51:54
- Matt Chrabot USA 1:51:56
- Hunter Kemper USA 1:52:07
- DNF Kyle Jones CAN
Sydney World Championship Series Race 1 (women)
- Barbara Riveros Diaz CHI 2:04:19
- Andrea Hewitt NZL 2:04:19
- Emma Moffatt AUS 2:04:20
- Mariko Adachi JPN 2:04:30
- Lisa Norden SWE 2:04:48
- Kate Roberts RSA 2:04:49
- Jessica Harrison FRA 2:05:01
- Sarah Haskins USA 2:05:01
- Daniela Ryf SUI 2:05:06
- Vicky Holland GBR 2:05:16
- Kathy Tremblay CAN 2:08:37
Round two of the ITU world championship season headed to Seoul Korea, site of the 1988 Olympic Games. While Korea is traditionally very hot and humid, the early May race date saw a near-perfect 22 degree Celsius temperature. The wetsuit-legal swim did not break any of the men up on the course and Canada’s Simon Whitfield was one of the first to hit the technical, eight-lap, 40 km bike course. Unfortunately for Whitfield, a flat tire on lap one saw him playing catch-up for much of the bike ride.
“I was pleased that I was able to get the wheel changed quickly and then rode very aggressively to catch back up to the main pack,” said Whitfield. While he started the run with all the main players, the excess work he did on the hard bike caused a strained hip flexor and Triathlon Canada High Performance Director Kurt Innes pulled him off the course during run rather than risk long-term injury.
“It’s frustrating to come all the way to Seoul for a DNF, but I know that Kurt’s advice was right so early in the season,” said Whitfield. The men’s race turned into an incredibly fast final 10km run, with Beijing Olympic Gold medalist Jan Frodeno sprinting away from Australian Olympian Courtney Atkinson in the final meters to win his first race of 2010. Australia’s Brad Kahfeldt finished in third place with nine Beijing Olympians filling the top 10 spots of the very competitive field.
No Canadian women made the trip to Seoul, in a race where the results were very similar to Sydney. American swim sensation Haley Persiol led out of the water, but eventually a group of nearly 30 women came together by the end of the ride. Onto the run, Australian Emma Moffat opened a gap of 20 seconds on the rest of the women in the first 3 km and it looked like it would be an easy victory for the Olympic bronze medalist. With one mile to go, though, four other women bridged up to Moffatt and the final km was a battle for the podium spots. Switzerland’s Daniela Ryf, a former 23-and-under world champion, found her sprint legs at the right time to win her first world championship race by three seconds over Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz. Moffatt had to settle for third for the second time in two races.
Seoul World Championship Series Race 2 (men)
- Jan Frodeno GER 1:51:49
- Courtney Atkinson AUS 1:51:50
- Brad Kahlefeldt AUS 1:52:17
- Steffen Justus GER 1:52:21
- Alexander Brukhankov RUS 1:52:28
- Dmitry Polyansky RUS 1:52:34
- Bevan Docherty NZL 1:52:39
- Jarrod Shoemaker USA 1:52:43
- Reto Hug SUI 1:52:43
- William Clarke GBR 1:52:54
- DNF Simon Whitfield CAN
Seoul World Championship Series Race 2 (women)
- Daniela Ryf SUI 2:00:59
- Barbara Riveros Diaz CHI 2:01:02
- Emma Moffatt AUS 2:01:04
- Nicola Spirig SUI 2:01:05
- Andrea Hewitt NZL 2:01:06
- Emma Snowsill AUS 2:01:10
- Mariko Adachi JPN 2:01:16
- Jessica Harrison FRA 2:01:31
- Helen Jenkins GBR 2:01:44
- Sarah Haskins USA 2:02:02
KEY 2010 ITU RACES FOR CANADIANS
- Madrid Spain June 5-6th
- Hyvee Triathlon June 12-13th
- Coteau-du-Lac Quebec June 26th
- Hamburg Germany July 17-18th
- London England July 24-25th
- Kitzbehel Austria Aug 14-15th
- Kelowna Canadian Championships Aug 21-22nd
- Budapest Hungary Sept 8-12th
Triathlon Canada hall of fame coach Barry Shepley was Canada’s triathlon coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He is a commentator for the ITU and CBC television.