By ITU Admin on 09/06/06 at 12:00 am
One hundred and eighteen of the worlds top triathletes have filtered into Richards Bay on the Northern shore of South Africa for the first BG Triathlon World Cup ever to be held on the African continent. After successfully holding the African Championships earlier this year, organisers are back and have put together a great team for the debut of world cup triathlon in Africa.
You can tune into TriCastLive!
on Sunday and catch live audio commentary, timing, photos and text updates from the Richards Bay BG Triathlon World Cup, on race day. Live coverage begins at 10:00 am local time. (London: 09:00, New York: 05:00, Tokyo: 18:00, Sydney: 19:00, LA: 02:00, Denver: 03:00)
Both 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallists Emma Snowsill (AUS) and Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) are on the start list and looking to gain points towards their first Olympic team birth for Beijing 2008. This is Snowsills first world cup of the year and first race since taking the Commonwealth gold back in March. Kahlefeldt was in Mazatlan recently but had a disappointing race finishing in twelvth spot after missing the lead pack out of the swim. He is back looking for valuable Olympic points and a piece of the recently increased, US$100,000 prize purse.
Also on the womens start line is Commonwealth Games silver medallist Samantha Warriner (NZL), former World Cup champion Anja Dittmer (GER), fleet-footed Lauren Groves (CAN) and a large South African team, all looking for their place on the podium. Groves was in Madrid last weekend but due to sudden illness, was unable to start the race.
In the mens race, look for Aussie veteran Craig Walton to lead out of the swim and charge away on the bike in his customary fashion. Many athletes will be looking to grab and hold on to Walton including top-ranked man Mark Fretta (USA), Jan Frodeno (GER), who finished third in the recent Mazatlan World Cup and 2004 World Cup champion Dmitriy Gaag (KAZ).
Hendrik DeVilliers (RSA) will lead the large South African contingent to what they hope will be a new standard for Triathlon South Africa in world cup competition. No doubt pushed on by the thousands of expected home-town spectators.
The course will have athletes complete a two loop, wetsuit swim in a sheltered area of the cool Indian Ocean. They will then head out on a technical bike course for eight laps where they will negotiate one large hill on each lap, and quickly transition to the scenic, flat and fast, four lap run course. In addition to being the second qualifying event for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the Richards Bay course has also been referred to as, the closest thing to Beijing with out being there and will be a good test for the world-class competition.
Before the event is often the time to enjoy the hospitality and cultural surroundings the host location has to offer. Many of the athletes took full advantage of this attending a classic safari through the nearby gaming reserves and a trip to cultural-rich Swaziland, where they were able to witness the various traditions and traits of the local Zulu people.
Some athletes took the time to visit a local school to teach children about the growing sport of triathlon and the importance of sport in developing a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
Watch pre race footage from the athletes day trip to Umfolozi Game Park. Click here to watch video now.
Find more details about this event - 2006 Richards Bay BG Triathlon World Cup