USA to Host Richest ITU World Cup
Des Moines, Iowa will join the ranks of leading cities of the world when it hosts the first Hy-Vee ITU Des Moines World Cup triathlon in June 2007. The Des Moines event will be the richest ever on the elite triathlon circuit with a total prize purse of more than US$700,000. The first-place winners in the mens and womens divisions will each take home paychecks of US$200,000, filtering down to US$3,000 for the 15th place man and woman.
ITU is very excited that, with the support of Hy-Vee and the city of Des Moines, we are back in the U.S. with what will surely be an outstanding event, said ITU Executive Director, Loreen Barnett. Our athletes work very hard and make many sacrifices to reach this level of competition and it wonderful that we are able to reward them like this.
Des Moines will be only the fourth U.S. city to host an ITU World Cup triathlon since the World Cup series began in 1991.
Only Honolulu, New York City and St. Petersburg, Florida have hosted ITU World Cup events in America, said Ric Jurgens, president and chief executive officer of Hy-Vee, Inc. None are planned in the U.S. during 2006 and, so far, ours is the only one scheduled in our nation in 2007. So our role as hosts is somewhat rare and somewhat remarkable, given the relative size of our city.
In addition to the record-large purse, the Hy-Vee ITU World Cup Triathlon is also a qualifying event for both the 2007 ITU World Triathlon Championships in Hamburg, Germany in September, and the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
The elite athletes will swim their 1.5 kilometers at Grays Lake, then cycle directly through downtown Des Moines and complete a six-lap, criterium-style race. They will transition at Finkbine Drive in front of the Capitol building, complete four laps around a course in downtown Des Moines and cross the finish line back at the Capitol.
Both the elite and amateur triathlons will be run on Sunday, June 17, 2007. But the entire weekend of June 15-17 will have events designed to encourage health and fitness.
Hy-Vee will host a concurrent citizens race the Hy-Vee Triathlon for enthusiasts who will compete in age group and team events. They will be vying for more than $40,000 in gifts and prizes.
I was amazed at how much excitement and enthusiasm a triathlon generates, Jurgens said. We believe that bringing an event like this to Des Moines is beneficial in many ways. One of the most important is that the triathlons, and all the associated activities, promote the concept of fitness and health. Thats important to Hy-Vee, because the more fit we are, the more healthy we will be. And thats good for all of us.
Jurgens said that his company began thinking about hosting a major triathlon partly because he had enjoyed participating in a triathlon as part of a team.
Hy-Vee, Inc., headquartered in West Des Moines, is an employee-owned corporation operating 222 retail stores in seven Midwestern states. For 2005, the company recorded total sales of $4.9 billion, ranking it among the top 20 supermarket chains and the top 35 private companies in the U.S.
For more information about this event please visit the Hy-Vee Triathlon website at www.hyveetriathlon.com.