The penultimate round of the 2013 World Cup circuit touches down in South Korea this weekend with Tongyeong welcoming the event for the seventh time. The course will offer up a challenging 1.5km two lap ocean swim, followed by 40km on the bike with two steep hills on each of the five laps, and will finish up with a four lap 10km run.
Australia will start a strong team in the women’s race with all five of its women ranked in the top 10 on the start list. After a shaky start to the season, Emma Jackson found her groove after producing an impressive second-place finish up the monster climb in Kitzbuehel, making her the woman to chase in Tongyeong. If her conquering of the Kitzbuehel course is any indicator, the hilly course will be no problem for this star.
Teammate Charlotte McShane, who recently won the women’s Under23 World Championship in London, will join Jackson as a top threat. McShane and Natalie Van Coevorden just missed the podium in last year’s race. With these athletes, along with Grace Musgrove and Tamsyn Moana-Veale on the start list, look for the podium to be made up of at least one Aussie.
Vendula Frintova (CZE) presents the biggest threat to the Australians, having posted a World Triathlon Series career high of sixth this year in Yokoahma. Frintova also has fond memories of Tongyeong, having finished third there in 2008. Margit Vanek (HUN) will also try to break up the deep Aussie pack. Solid on the swim and bike, Vanek will need to save up for the 10km run if she wants a shot a making her first World Cup podium.
Also keep an eye out for Samantha Warriner (NZL), who returned to ITU racing this year after three years away. Warriner owns seven World Cup titles, one of which was earned in Tongyeong in 2008.
Ryan Sissons (NZL) recorded a career high WTS performance of fifth place in Kitzbeuehel on the toughest bike course the circuit has ever seen. His bike skills will be tough to overpower on the Tongyeong course, with two steep hills on each of the five laps. If Sissons gets away on the bike, it just may lead to his first World Cup title.
But the path to the podium will be paved with challenges coming from the likes of Tony Moulai (FRA), who is also a strong cyclist. Expect Benjamin Shaw, racing under the ITU banner, to be one of the first men out of the water, while Igor Polyanskiy (RUS) should be minded on the run. Polyanskiy recently split an impressive 31:09 time off the back of the U23 World Championship race in London and also earned his first World Cup medal here last year.
Ukraine’s Ivan Ivanov has been steadily making a name for himself this year after earning his first World Cup podium in Edmonton this year. He went on to earn silver in the Aquathlon World Championships and will look to use that momentum as motivation for a second World Cup podium.
The women will take off first at 8:00am local time, while the men will follow at 11:00am on Saturday 12, October. Live timing will be available at triathlon.org/live and you can also follow the event live on @triathlonlive.