By Merryn Sherwood on 06/01/12 at 6:36 pm
Welcome to 2012! While there isn’t anything much more exciting than welcoming in an Olympic year, before we get to those two days in London this August there are still dozens of brilliant triathlon events to come in 2012.
The very first one is the 2012 Laz Paz PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships on January 15.
The best athletes from the Americas will converge in Argentina to race for the right to be Pan American champion, with the addition of Olympic qualifying points at stake.
In the men’s field, there is the trio of Pan Am Games medalists; Brazil’s Reinaldo Colucci, the USA’s Manuel Huerta and Canada’s Brent McMahon and also keep an eye on athletes who have been part of the ITU Development programme in 2011, including Colombia’s Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero, Barbados’ Jason Wilson and Costa Rica’s Leonardo Chacon.
La Paz could also be the site of a much anticipated return and debut. The return could be that of Argentina’s Oscar Galindez, a triple World Cup winner and Sydney Olympian, who last competed in Olympic distance in 2003.
The debut is that of USA’s Lukas Verzbicas, who won the junior men’s world title in Beijing. He made headlines at home as he dedicated the race to his friend and 2010 junior men’s bronze medallist Kevin McDowell, who was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2010. Verzbicas then went to start a college scholarship to try an athletics career, but just two months in, decided to again focus on triathlon. He’s on the start list in La Paz, and if he does compete, it will be his first ITU elite race.
Athletes on the start list to watch in the women’s race include Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, Canadians Lauren Campbell, Kirsten Sweetland, and Kathy Tremblay, Ecuador’s Elizabeth Bravo and Pan Am Games bronze medallist Pamela Nascimento Oliveria.
January and February will also see a host of Winter Triathlon European Cup events, European Cup, Oceania Cup, African Cup and Pan American Cup events, before the next major event, the 2012 Oceania Championships in Devonport on 10 March 2012.
The first World Championship event of the year will then take place on the same weekend as the opening World Cup for the year. In contrasting snow and sun, the 2012 ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships will take place in Jamijarvi, Finland and the ITU World Cup series will kick off in Mooloolaba, both on March 25.
The first ITU World Triathlon Series event of the year is in Sydney from April 14 to 15.