World Champs – Elite Men Preview
The 2008 Vancouver BG Triathlon World Championships finale will be at 4pm on Sunday as the elite men are the last to tackle the course. Many are expecting a showdown between last years silver medallist Javier Gomez and Canadian favourite Simon Whitfield, the 2000 Olympic Champion.
Whitfield won the test event in Vancouver last year and will have plenty of home support as he competes for his world championship. A win would make him the first triathlete in history to hold both world and Olympic gold medals. But he will face hard competition from Gomez who will be eager to avenge last years stunning loss to Germanys Daniel Unger who opted not to defend his championship as he prepares for the Beijing Olympic Games.
New Zealand does not have a large contingent but could still be on the podium as Bevan Docherty is never one to be counted out. He won the world championships in 2004, the last time the event was held during an Olympic year. Docherty then went on to take silver at Athens.
Frederic Belaubre from leads a strong French squad and will hope to add world gold to his collection of three European Championships. Australian Greg Bennett, a six-time world cup winner and 2004 Olympian, will likely be the greatest medal threat from Down Under. American Matt Reed will also be one to watch as the tries to bring the U.S. into the top-8 countries who will send the maximum of three men to Beijing.
Also with Olympic dreams at stake are a number of Canadians. Paul Tichelaar, last years Canadian National champion, has said his lifes work is on the line this weekend as he seeks a top-8 result for automatic selection to the Canadian Olympic team. Kyle Jones will also be looking for a top-8 finish, not just for his own selection but also to keep Canada above the U.S., Russia and Australia in the team rankings.
The mens results will decide the national allocations for the Olympic Games, with the top eight ranked countries eligible for a full quota of three athletes. At present the U.S. sits seventh with Russia eighth and Australia ninth. The Aussies will rely on Brendan Sexton having a good race to jump them up into the top eight while Team USAs Reed will hope to repeat his third place finish from last years Vancouver World Cup to give his country the maximum number of athletes on the pontoon in Beijing, including himself after he won the U.S. Olympic Trials back in April.
Javier Gomez at last years world championships in Hamburg
Related Event: 2008 Vancouver BG Triathlon World Championships
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