By ITU Admin on 15/07/06 at 12:00 am
There are past Olympic & World Champions, 2006 multiple World Cup winners and the current world ranked number ones in both elite men and elite women competing Sunday in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. However, much of the story is about a young Canadian who will be trying to capture her first ever World Cup podium finish.
Lauren Groves, a 24-year-old from Vancouver, is ranked #3 on the most recent World Cup Rankings the highest of her career and the best of any Canadian triathlete. Groves is on the verge of taking over the number 2 ranking as she is just two points behind Andrea Whitcombe, the Corner Brook World Cup Champion from a year ago. Whitcombe is not entered, in this, the 9th World Cup of the season. Groves, who has a 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th in her four World Cup starts, will have to be at her best in this ultra competitive race. Last year in Corner Brook, Groves finished 6th - a repeat performance and she could be ranked #2 in the world by Sunday night.
The last time a Canadian had a podium finish in a World Cup race in Canada was back in 2003 when Jill Savege took home the gold medal. Triathlon Canadas High Performance Director, Tom Patrick, was asked if a top finish is possible this year. I believe we can capture a podium this year. I feel that a number of Canadians are racing well enough to finish in the top 3. It could come down to making one key decision during a certain part of the race to go after the win. It is when we take some necessary risk that well be rewarded with the ultimate success.
For the ninth straight World Cup race this season, Portugals Vanessa Fernandes and Australias Emma Snowsill will not compete in the same event. The last time they raced together was back in 2005 in the last triathlon of the season at New Plymouth, New Zealand, with Fernandes capturing the gold medal. These 2 women have dominated the 2006 Series to date winning 5 of the 8 World Cups in the 3 they didnt win; neither athlete was in the field. Snowsill won the race in Edmonton on July 9th while Fernandes took the week off.
Fernandes, #1 in the World Cup Rankings, has a perfect record on the World Cup circuit this season winning in Aqaba, Mazatlan and Madrid; Fernandes will be trying to equal the mark she set last season when she won 4 World Cup races.
Others to look out for include: Kate Allen, from Austria, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist, world number 5 - Germanys Anja Dittmer and Australias, Emma Moffat, who finished runner-up to Emma Snowsill 9 days ago in Edmonton.
The Canadian contingent consists of 9 women. Competing in only her third Olympic Distance race and first World Cup of the season is Samantha McGlone. McGlone, from Otterburn Park, Quebec, was the top ranked Canadian last year as she finished 9th at the World Championships and ended the year 12th on the final World Cup Rankings. On July 2nd, McGlone finished 8th at the National Championships in Brampton.
Penticton, BCs, Jill Savege, is looking for her first World Cup top-8 finish of the season. Jill finished 10th in Mazatlan and 12th in Edmonton. A top-8 finish would guarantee Jill a spot for the up-coming World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland in September. This World Cup race in Corner Brook, one of three designated races for the athletes to earn a spot for the World Championships, is the final opportunity to qualify for this major championship.
Carolyn Murray, from Edmonton is in a similar situation for the World Championships. Last year in Corner Brook Carolyn finished 8th and she would dearly love to match or better that result this time around. Murray has completed 1 World Cup event in 2006 a 12th place finish in Mazatlan. Murray is the 4th highest ranked Canadian on the World Cup Rankings at 56th. Murray was on the start line last week in her hometown of Edmonton but did not finish the race.
Gillian Kornell is hoping to duplicate her 4th place finish at the Corner Brook World Cup from a year ago. Kornells best finish to date was in the third World Cup of season, when she finished 13th in Mooloolaba.
Patrick reiterated - this is our final competitive opportunity to qualify for the World Championships. I am expecting to see our athletes have their best race of the year and qualify to represent Canada in Lausanne. Im also expecting the athletes that have already qualified to really go after a spot on the podium.
Also competing this weekend include: Pickering, Ontarios, Alicia Kaye, the newly crowned U23 National Champion, Victorias Natasha Filliol the top Canadian finisher at the World Championships in 2003 and 2004, National team member, Ayesha Rollinson, from Toronto, Development team member, Tara Ross from Victoria and Calgarys Lisa Mensink 5th at the National Championships in early July.
The Mens field arguably the deepest of the year - will pose a tough challenge for our Canadian men hoping to qualify for the World Championships. Last year in Corner Brook, the best finish for the Canadian men was a 22nd place finish by Marc Despaties this year 9 men will be aiming for multiple top-10 performances.
Leading the way is Simon Whitfield, in only his second World Cup of the season, Whitfield will be looking to better his 9th place finish in Mazatlan and climb up the World Cup Rankings - Simon is ranked #51 in the world. Whitfield, 2000 Olympic Games Champion, has already earned a spot at the World Championships based on his 6th place finish last season in Gamagori, Japan.
Brent McMahon, from Victoria, needs a strong race in Corner Brook to earn a spot for the World Championships. In the other qualifying races Brent was 30th in Mazatlan and a he did not finish in Edmonton.
Canadian U23 National Champion, Colin Jenkins, from Hamilton, 2nd overall to Simon Whitfield in Brampton, is looking for his first World Cup points of the season. Jenkins finished 21st in Edmonton in early July and had a career best ITU finish of 6th at the Pan American Championship in early June.
Kyle Jones, the third highest ranked Canadian on the World Cup Rankings, will be looking to better his 13th place finish in Edmonton and his 14th in Mazatlan. Jones is ranked 54th in the World just 3 spots behind Simon Whitfield.
Outside of the Canadians, the Mens field is loaded with talent. Hamish Carter, 2004 Olympic gold medallist and the recent World Cup Champion from Edmonton will represent New Zealand as he goes for back-to-back World Cup titles unprecedented in the 2006 World Cup season. Carters ranking of 19th is way down, however; this is just his second World Cup race of the season.
American Hunter Kemper, World Ranked number 1, will be looking for his first win of the season. In 2005, Kemper won twice and ended the year ranked #1.
4 of the top-6 men are competing in Corner Brook this weekend. Javier Gomez, from Spain, is ranked 3rd in the world due in large part to his victory in the World Cup of Madrid. Also racing on Sunday is countryman Ivan Rana, the former World Champion in 2002 is currently ranked 6th in the world.
Bruno Pais, from Portugal, will also be looking for his first win of the season. Pais is tied for third with Gomez, with one podium finish and two 4th place results in his three starts this season.
American Jarrod Shoemaker, fresh off a silver medal in Edmonton, will be hoping to continue his momentum right into Corner Brook and move his ranking into the top-10.
Another American has to be considered a potential winner Andy Potts 2nd in Mazatlan and 3rd in Ishigaki is ranked 10th in the world. Potts has experience winning in Canada; Potts won the 2005 Edmonton World Cup.
And finally, Reto Hug, 2nd earlier this year at the World Cup in Richards Bay is ranked 22nd in the world. Hug, from Switzerland, is the defending silver medallist at last years World Championships in Gamagori, Japan.
Asked what he expected to see in Corner Brook and Patrick was emphatic, In Corner Brook, I want us to try to make things happen out there on race day and not resign ourselves to just a good top-10 performance. This strategy doesnt always work and certain scenarios have to present themselves for certain athletes to be able to medal at a world cup, but I get more excited about seeing our top athletes go for the win even if they come up a bit short.
Patrick, who will be at the race this weekend, says Corner Brook is special place. When I talk to our athletes about Corner Brook they dont begin talking about the race course but instead speak of the hospitality and of the wonderful feeling in the community. The community of Corner Brook has obviously done a phenomenal job of hosting this event over the years. The other identifying characteristic about Corner Brook is that it is among the most difficult race courses in the world.
Triathlon Canada is the National Federation for the Sport of Triathlon and Duathlon in Canada.
Find more details about this event - 2006 Corner Brook BG Triathlon World Cup