Strong fields set up close races as the sprint triathlon season heads to Clermont

Strong fields set up close races as the sprint triathlon season heads to Clermont

By Merryn Sherwood on 28/02/12 at 8:09 pm

The battle for early season form and priceless Olympic qualification points continues in the U.S. this Saturday at the 2012 Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup.

The men’s start lists might be dominated by athletes from the U.S. and Canada, but a handful of other athletes could shake up the podium.

Great Britain’s contingent includes current Under23 world champion Matthew Sharp will start, along with 2011 Tiszaujvaros silver medallist Aaron Harris and Adam Bowden, who scored a career best 7th place finish in Yokohama in 2011 and finished fourth just last weekend at the Pan American Cup event in Lima. Japan will have three athletes on the start line, including reigning Asian champion Yuichi Hosoda.

Then there’s a trio with Olympic history momentum carrying them. Ukraine’s Andriy Glushchenko (UKR) is aiming for his fourth consecutive Olympic Games, while Team ITU alumni Jason Wilson (BAR), Carlos Quinchara Forero (COL) are aiming to be the first male triathletes from their respective national federations to compete at the Olympic Games.

From the North Americans, Kyle Jones is the most experienced in a 14-strong Canadian contingent but also watch for Andrew Yorke in a crowd of up and coming young talent.  While the American men’s team will be led by Jarrod Shoemaker.. Shoemaker finished second in this event last year, and makes his 2012 debut in this race. After a year when he didn’t finish better than 20th in a World Triathlon Series event, the 2008 Olympian will be aiming to get his year off to a better start. No American men have yet to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Click here for the men’s start list

Gwen Jorgensen (USA) is of one of the fastest runners on the current women’s circuit and deserves to be one of the favourites in Clermont. But Jorgensen, who has already qualified for the U.S. Olympic team thanks to her silver medal in London last year, will be pressed from the start in her 2012 race debut in Clermont with a strong swim-bike field assembled.

Kerry Lang (GBR), Sarah Haskins (USA), and Jessica Harrison (FRA) are all excellent swim-bikers and are in form. Haskins won the Pan Am Games gold medal late in 2011, while Harrison collected her debut World Cup wins in the second half of last year. Lang claimed her first ITU career win just last weekend at the 2012 Lima ITU Pan American Cup.

Others to watch include Guatape World Cup winner Carole Peon (FRA), Japan’s Ai Ueda, 2012 PATCO champion Sarah-Anne Brault (CAN), 2012 Bridgetown sprint winner Lauren Campbell (CAN), World Cup winner Kirsten Sweetland (CAN), Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, and Americans Sara McLarty, Kaitlin Shiver and 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Kelly Whitley.

Click here for the women’s start list

The 2012 ITU Clermont Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup gets underway with the men’s race starts at 2pm (local time) on Saturday 3 March, followed by the women’s race at 3:30pm. The race will comprise of a 750m one lap lake swim from a beach start, a three-lap 20km bike course and two-lap 5km run. Find the results on www.triathlon.org after the race.

Find more details about this event - 2012 Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup

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