By Merryn Sherwood on 17/02/12 at 6:33 am
The 2012 sprint triathlon season heats up in South Africa this weekend, with strong fields ready to compete in the 2012 Cape Town ITU Sprint Triathlon African Cup this Sunday.
In the elite men’s race, Great Britain’s Tim Don will get his year underway wearing the No.1. And while he has a big target this year, qualifying for his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, he isn’t expecting too much in his first race of 2012.
“The race will be a good test of my winter training and it should be fun to race locally to where my winter base is,” Don said. “I am looking forward to racing, but I might be a bit rusty. Roll on the 2012 season.”
Igor Polyanskiy will wear the No.2 and will be hopeful of adding a win to resume. The Russian hasn’t won an ITU race, but hasn’t finished lower than 12th in his past five, including a third, and two fourths. One of those came just last week in Bridgetown, where he finished behind 2007 ITU World Champion Daniel Unger (GER). Unger is back to compete again after his win in Barbados, while Ireland’s Gavin Noble will be hoping to improve on his fifth place there.
But they will all have to keep a close eye on the African contigent in Cape Town, including World Cup winner Hendrik De Villiers (RSA), 2011 Huatulco World Cup silver medallist Richard Murray (RSA), All Africa Games gold medallist Erhard Wolfaardt (RSA), Namibia’s Abrahm Louw, Zimbabwe’s Christopher Felgate and Morocco’s Mehdi Essadiq.
There is also a sprinkling of European men to watch for, including 2011 Tongyeong World Cup medallist Simon de Cuyper (BEL), Peter Croes (BEL), Dan Alterman (ISR), Premysl Svarc (CZE), Jens Toft (DEN) and Daniel Hofer (ITA). James Elvery will fly the flag for New Zealand, and is coming off a 13th place in Kinloch.
The women’s field is headlined by Europeans who are all chasing Olympic qualification points. World Cup winner Vendula Frintova (CZE) will wear the number one, while Sarissa De Vries (NED), Ricarda Lisk (GER) and Katrien Verstuyft (BEL) round out the top four, and are expected to lead the charge in Cape Town.
The race will also be the first in over a year for South Africa’s Mari Rabie, a Beijing Olympian who is also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. Rabie was also the first African athlete to medal at an ITU world championships, when she claimed bronze at the 2008 Under23 women’s world title race in Vancouver.
The 2012 ITU Cape Town Sprint Triathlon gets underway when the men’s race starts at 7am (local time) on Sunday 19 February, followed by the women’s race at 7.05am. The race will comprise of a 750m one lap swim from a beach start, a two lap 20km bike course and one lap 5km run. Both races also double as the 2012 South African sprint titles. Find the results on www.triathlon.org after the race.
Find more details about this event - 2012 Cape Town ITU Sprint Triathlon African Cup