By ITU Admin on 01/09/06 at 12:00 am
This is it, over 2,000 Elite, under23, Junior, Age Group and AWAD athletes have gathered in the beautiful Olympic city of Lausanne, Switzerland to race the best in the world at the 2006 ITU Triathlon World Championships this weekend.
With the Swiss mountains providing a surreal backdrop, athletes from 61 countries will dive into the green waters of Lake Geneva starting Saturday morning with the junior elite age group categories.
The junior athletes compete in a 750metre swim, a challenging 20km bike and a 5km run through the heart of the mountain town. All eyes will be on young American Steven Duplinsky as he tries to defend his title from Gamagori, Japan last year becoming the first athlete to hold both the Junior Triathlon and Junior Duathlon world titles in the same year.
The 2005 junior women’s champion, Anais Moniz from Portugal, is also back to try and defend her title on Saturday. The 2006 Junior Duathlon champion Rebecca Spence from New Zealand is also back to try and better her second place finished from Gamagori.
Saturday afternoon will see 1,500 age group athletes aged 18 to 70 racing for their country through the Swiss countryside. With the local Swiss police organising the event, full road closures will ensure a safe, fair and fun event for all participants.
On Sunday things will heat up as the top Under23 and Elite athletes will race for the title of ‘World Champion’. The Under23 Women will hit the water first at 7:30am local time followed by the Elite Women at 10:30am, then the Elite Men at 1:00pm and Under23 Men at 3:45pm. The unusual timing is to accommodate the live television broadcast of the events. Live video from the Elite races will be available on triathlon.org.
The triathlon world has been waiting all year for the face-off between the two seemingly untouchable women Vanessa Fernandes from Portugal and Emma Snowsill from Australia. Fernandes has gone undefeated in 2006, bringing home the European Under23 and Elite titles and four world cup titles, making it a consecutive ten world cup wins in a row. Snowsill has also not lost in 2006 with a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, three world cup wins and a slough of other first place finishes. This battle will surely be one to remember as the two women have not raced since the 2005 world championships in Gamagori, Japan, where Snowsill was the victor with her second world championship win.
The strong Kiwi trio of Samantha Warriner, Andrea Hewitt and Debbie Tanner will undoubtedly perform well and be near the top of the finishers. The two powerful Germans Joelle Franzmann and Anja Dittmer have been preparing all year for this day and are prepared to give everything on Sunday.
A slough of past champions and Olympians are also in Lausanne for their shot at the gold medal. 2005 bronze medallist Laura Bennett (USA) always is a threat with her strong swim/bike skills and will no doubt be looking to break away with the other strong US swimmers on the hilly, eight-lap bike course.
A noticeable absentee on the womens side is 2005 world silver medalist Annabel Luxford from Australia, who will not be racing because of a foot injury she sustained earlier in the year.
For the men, it is a mystery whether the 2005 World Champion Peter Robertson will again shine at the world championships and keep his streak of a medal at every world championship he has started or whether his team mate and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Brad Kahlefeldt will continue his dream season with a win this Sunday.
It will not be easy, however, as a strong Swiss team of Reto Hug and Sven Riederer will hope to use their superior cycling skills and local support to conquer the steep hills and bring only the second gold medal to continental Europe. France’s Frederic Belaubre, who is the current European Champion, and rising star Javier Gomez from Spain will also be striving to accomplish this feat.
Find more details about this event - 2006 Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Championships