By Merryn Sherwood on 30/03/11 at 9:57 am
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The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series is Back
It’s that time of the year again; a time for legends to be made; a time for champions to be challenged and a time for the best racing triathlon has to offer.
The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series will kick off in dramatic style on the steps of the Sydney Opera House on April 10th.
The Series is sure to offer its share of thrills, spills and surprises as every season has so far. When you pack 110 of the world’s best triathletes on the start pontoon, nothing else would be expected.
Predicting triathlon has become almost like a black art, next to impossible to get right and the element of surprise is never far away. This time last year, few would have predicted that countless news stories would be written about the likes of Paula Findlay, Barbara Riveros Diaz and Joao Silva. However, amid all this uncertainty, there are some athletes that can always be counted on to perform on the big day. Javier Gomez and Emma Moffatt demonstrated why they are multiple World Champions, with devastatingly consistent performances; and this consistency is at the highest level.
So what to expect in 2011? A pre-Olympic year is always hard to predict with many athletes playing their cards close to their chests. Athletes who have already made their national teams can focus on the Series, while others will be aiming to peak for selected races where qualifications spots are on offer. This year should favour the more aggressive athletes, with the introduction of challenging bike courses in Beijing and Kitzbühel where the course has been redesigned to introduce a grueling climb.
In the women’s field the big question is whether Emma Moffatt will make it three in a row. The Australian has shown stellar form over the past two years to fend off an increasingly competitive women’s field. More and more women’s races are coming down to three and four way sprints to the finish line, making for exhilarating viewing. Moffatt, who is being trained by Australian partner Brad Kahlefeldt, will welcome the return to Beijing to the program – as it’s where she claimed her Olympic bronze medal at the 2008 Games.
With the addition of some tougher bike courses, expect to see Swiss powerhouse Nicola Spirig feature prominently after she finished last season ranked second. If Spirig can work on getting herself out into the first pack on the swim, she’ll really be extremely tough to beat. Her legal studies occupied a large part of her early season last year, but with those behind her, she is concentrating firmly on the season ahead and will be a real challenge to Moffatt.
Australian superstar Emma Snowsill is aiming to take her fourth World Championship title, if she can remain free of the injuries and illnesses which plagued her season last year. Snowsill showed just how incredible she can be when she is fully fit at the Grand Final in Budapest, when was nearly two minutes faster than everyone else in the run. It remains clear; if Snowsill is on form, there is nobody still who can match her. The Olympic Champion pulled out of the Mooloolaba World Cup with a minor heel injury, but mainly as a precautionary measure for the season ahead. This seems a clear signal of her intentions.
Sweden’s Lisa Norden and Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins will also once again be lurking around the top spots aiming to take the title away from Moffatt. The pair were ranked third and fourth place respectively come season’s end last year. New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt was in contention for the title last season on the morning of the Grand Final in Budapest, but her disappointing performance put her out of contention, dropping her down the ranking to sixth position. She will be in the mix again in 2011.
Finally it remains to be see if the Canadian youngster Findlay can translate her amazing streak of form into a World Championship medal this year. While the youngster racked up two impressive victories last year, she was essentially ruled out of contention for the world title by not competing in the early season races. This season will be different, and if Findlay can display the form she showed in London and Kitzbühel then she will be a serious contender for the crown.
It all gets under way in Sydney next weekend. Click here for the women’s start list in Sydney
After the opening round, the series moves on to Yokohama, Madrid, Kitzbühel, Hamburg and London before the Grand Final in Beijing.
Up next: which men will challenge Javier Gomez in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series? Stay tuned for the men’s preview tomorrow.
Find more details about this event - 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series Sydney