By Merryn Sherwood on 20/11/11 at 11:24 pm
In the week where Team ITU celebrated it’s fifth year anniversary, it was fitting that ITU Development Director Libby Burrell said the tough 2011 Auckland World Cup became a learning experience that will help propel these athletes further, in line with the original goals of the development programme.
The team of Korea’s Min Ho Heo, Slovenia’s Mateja Simic, Estonia’s Aleksandr Latin, Monaco’s Herve Banti, Morocco’s Medhi Essadiq and Serbia’s Ognjen Stojanovic all started well, but just couldn’t match early season form on one of the toughest ITU courses all year.
In the women’s field, Simic rode up the front of the first chase group for all of the bike leg, claimed the ninth fastest bike split of the day and eventually finished in 18th position.
The men in Team ITU started strongly right from the swim, they all exited within 23 seconds of each other in the top 25, with Stojanovic claiming the seventh fastest swim split of the day. He ended up finishing in 38th spot, while Banti ran into 22nd. At the end, the tough Auckland course had claimed 19 of the 57 men’s starters and Heo, Essadiq and Latin all did not finish.
Burrell, the Team ITU head coach, said that while there were a number of little victories for each athlete, overall it was a great chance to them to learn and come back in 2012 ready to reach new heights.
“Today was a learning experience for most of the athletes in the race because the challenging course gave everyone the opportunity to find out something about themselves. While many of our team members experienced ‘little’ victories in the race with ‘best ever’ swims and brave and very much better bike legs than in previous events, on the whole they found the long season of chasing Olympic ranking points around the globe left them rather ‘empty’ on resources for this race,” Burrell said.
“The most important thing coming away from this event is the fact that each athlete now walks away at the end of the 2011 season with valuable lessons about the things that they need to address to be able to come back in 2012 better equipped to perform to their potential.
“This is the ultimate goal of the Team ITU project. It is a processed orientated approach to provide the athletes with the opportunity to gather the tools to equip them with the rigours of top level racing. I am convinced we have been successful in doing just that.”
The 2011 Team ITU programme ran at three World Cup events in 2011, Mooloolaba, Edmonton and Auckland. A total of 15 athletes from 14 different national federations were part of the Team ITU alumni this year, including Leonardo Chacon (CRC), Aleksandr Latin (EST), Ron Darmon (ISR), Elizabeth Bravo (ECU), Mateja Simic (SLO), Jason Wilson (BAR), Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero (COL), Michel Gonzalez (CUB), Ognjen Stojanovic (SRB), Christopher Felgate (ZIM), Fanny Beisaron (ISR), Yanitza Perez (CUB), Min Ho Heo (KOR), Herve Banti (MON) and Medhi Essadiq (MAR).
For more on Team ITU, please click here
Find more details about this event - 2011 Auckland ITU Triathlon World Cup