By ITU Admin on 22/06/08 at 12:00 am
For the second straight year, some of triathlon’s biggest names will head to America’s heartland for the Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon World Cup, the seventh stop of the 2008 BG Triathlon World Cup series. The race features a $700,000 USD prize purse, the richest event on the ITU calendar for 2008.
Unfortunately, due to serious flooding issues, the course has been forced out of downtown Des Moines and out to West Des Moines. Excessive rainfall has flooded Gray’s lake, the original swim venue, which increased bacteria levels and subsequently jeopardizes the health and safety of the athletes. Race officials in Des Moines have been working around the clock trying to find an alternative venue in the area. All other lakes in the area had also flooded and the possibility of a duathlon came into play. Event officials have found a suitable swim course in West Des Moines and are awaiting water quality tests. However, the local organizing committee and ITU are confident the race will be a full triathlon.
In the women’s field, Great Britain’s Helen Tucker races for the first time since her stunning victory at the world championships in Vancouver. At the ITU’s richest race, Tucker looks to continue her spectacular form which also took her to silver in Madrid. She is almost certainly to be named to the British Olympic team that will be announced on June 27. Joining her on the start line will be last year’s junior world champion Hollie Avil. The teenager has broken through in the elite ranks, already with two world cup medals in three starts.
Emma Snowsill returns to the BG Triathlon World Cup series for the first time since her dominating win in Ishigaki on April 13. The three-time world champion looks to rebound after last year’s disappointing DNF. Joining her is a strong Aussie team that includes her fellow future Olympians Erin Densham and Emma Moffatt. Both are coming off top-5 finishes at the recent Vancouver BG Triathlon World Championships in Canada.
Also contending for part of the $700,000 prize purse is a substantial home team representing the stars and stripes of the United States. Laura Bennett is back to defend her title while her teammates Sarah Haskins, recent silver medalist at the world championships, and Sarah Groff battle for the final spot on the U.S. Olympic team. Already bound for Beijing, Julie Ertel will look to improve on last year’s 14th place finish.
The men’s race will highly competitive a several big names vying for the top prize, starting with last year’s winner Rasmus Henning of Denmark. He’ll defend his title against a host of challengers including Bevan Docherty, last year’s runner-up who’s also coming off a silver medal performance at the world championships. The Canadian team will be well represented with Olympic champion and Paul Tichelaar, who was recently selected to the Canadian Olympic team. Great Britain comes into Des Moines fielding a strong squad that includes current world number three Tim Don and newly crowned under23 world champion Alistair Brownlee.
The home team counters with a team of ten that includes Olympians Hunter Kemper and Andy Potts, who will duel for the final spot on the U.S. Olympic team for Beijing. One of them will join Jarrod Shoemaker and Matt Reed who have already secured their Olympic spots. Both will use the Hy-Vee race as part of their preparations for Beijing. Last year Shoemaker was the top American, finishing in eighth place.
Laura Bennett celebrates last year’s big payday
Rasmus Henning salutes the crowd after his win last year
Find more details about this event - 2008 Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon World Cup