By Erin Greene on 10/02/14 at 3:26 pm
While the 2014 Winter Olympics may be underway in Russia, the world’s top winter triathletes will take to the snow in Cogne, Italy this weekend to vie for a chance to call themselves the fastest athletes on foot, bike and skies. Elite and Under23 world titles are up for grabs over a 6km run, 12km mountain bike and 9km ski course, with junior and paratriathletes set to battle over shortened distances of the same course at the 2014 Cogne ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships.
The women’s podium is open for the taking, as last year’s gold and silver medallists are missing from the lineup. Sarka Grabmullerova (CZE) returns as the higest ranked athlete from 2013 after collecting bronze, but her form is a question mark with no winter races under her belt this year.
Russia, however, will showcase an array of talent after dominating at the Sigulda ETU Winter Triathlon Cup. Yulia Surikova is the country’s highest hope after winning in Sigulda, followed by compatriots Tatiana Charochkina, Olga Parfinenko and Margarita Ovsyannikva - all of whom will occupy the top four start positions.
Although Surikova is the top scorer in the sport this year, Charochkina just missed the podium last year and will be hungry for a shot to medal. Although weaker on the bike, look for her to close in on teammate Surkiova on the ski.
Russia’s Pavel Andreev will be the man to chase as he returns to defend his world title for the fourth consecutive time. Last year in route to his third crown, Andreev nearly saw gold turn to silver last year when Italy’s own Daniel Antonioli skied himself into the lead position late in the race.
In a final surge, Andreev recovered just in time to engage in a sprint ski for the finish line, leaving Antonioli as the runner up for the second year in a row. Andreev is coming off a strong win at the Sigulda, but look for the Italian to gun for that allusive elite world title in his home country.
Dmitriy Bregeda (RUS) will join his teammate as a top winter warrior to watch this weekend. One of the younger athletes in the elite field, Bregeda has steadily improved his performances each year and is coming off of a second-place finish at the European Cup. Russia’s third and final competitor Evgeny Kirillov will also look to improve his bronze medal from last year after leading the race until the final discipline.
Men’s Start List
Racing will get underway on Saturday, February 15 with the elite men’s and women’s events. The junior athletes will set off at 9:00am local time, while the elite women will head out at 11:00am, followed by the elite men at 1:00pm. Age group, Paratriathletes and Mixed Team relays will take to the course on Sunday for a shot at their chance to become World Champions beginning at 9:00am.
Find more details about this event - 2014 Cogne ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships