By ITU Admin on 01/05/07 at 12:00 am
This Sunday the third round of the 2007 BG Triathlon World Cup series stops in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. Although Portugal has hosted world cup races in the past, 2002 and 2003 in Madeira, Sunday marks the first time the capital city has hosted such an event. Thirty-four countries will take to the starting pontoon in a few days time to race each other for another batch of Olympic qualifying points and the share of the US$100,000 prize purse.
After competing and winning world cup races around the globe, Portuguese sensation Vanessa Fernandes comes home to compete on home soil. After claiming her 14th World Cup win in Ishigaki a few weeks ago, she continues to chase triathlon history and is certain to thrill the local crowds. Fernandes is five world cup wins away from the all-time record for world cup wins, 19, set by Aussie Emma Carney.
She will have stiff competition, however, as current Under23 world champion Erin Densham of Australia will take the second starting position. Just over a month ago Densham was able to pull away from Fernandes in the final run stages of the Mooloolaba BG Triathlon World Cup to best the young Portuguese.
Densham will have help from team mate and former world number one ranked Annabel Luxford, who is battling back after almost a year’s hiatus due to injury. The ever-strong German duo of Anja Dittmer and Joelle Franzmann will also be present to try and grab valuable Olympic points. Other notables on the start line include the likes of world cup veteran’s Michelle Dillon of Great Britain and Nadia Cortassa of Italy with young Junior world champion Kirsten Sweetland of Canada and up-and-comer Flora Duffy of Bermuda.
On the men’s side, a large number of the sport’s top runners are present and have their sights set on the reasonably flat and fast course. Top-ranked Brad Kahlefeldt of Australia will once again do battle with young Javier Gomez of Spain over the 1,500 metre swim, 40 kilometre bike and 10 kilometre run course. The last time these two met it was Kahlefeldt who was able to come from behind and nip the Spaniard at the line.
Sydney Olympic gold medalist, Simon Whitfield is looking to reach top form on his quest to represent Canada in a third Olympic Games. Whitfield does not race many world cups but is always a threat when he does show up. Other notables from across the ‘pond’ include 2005 Under23 world champion Jarrod Shoemaker of the United States and Pan American champion Paul Tichelaar of Canada.
As expected, a strong European contingent have gathered in Lisbon including local Bruno Pais of Portugal, former world champion Ivan Raña of Spain, Olympic bronze medalist Sven Riederer of Switzerland, Jan Frodeno of Germany and Filip Ospaly of the Czech Republic. Rasmus Henning of Denmark will also be back after a lengthy absence due to a nagging foot injury.
The 75 women and men will take the start line at 10:00 GMT and 14:00 GMT, respectively.
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