With the 2015 ITU World Cup season in full swing after the season opened up last week in Mooloolaba, the cycle continues on Sunday at the familiar site of New Plymouth. A string of athletes are set to headline the sprint course for their first World Cup event of the year as they take on the one-lap swim, four-lap bike, three-lap run circuit.
New Plymouth will open up with the women’s race, which features multiple women looking to continue their season with a strong performance. Vendula Frintova (CZE) and Ai Ueda (JPN) will both compete after a short recovery period from Abu Dhabi earlier this month. Frintova finished 25th in Abu Dhabi after a steady round through all three disciplines. While she had a personal best second-place podium finish at the 2014 World Cup in Alanya, she will be looking to improve on the New Zealand forefront after finishing 22nd in New Plymouth last year.
“I raced in Abu Dhabi, but I had some mechanical issues and am looking forward to improving my performance here. I like the course – the hills and the technical aspects – I don’t like flat, boring courses,” Frintova said. “There are many girls because now Olympic qualification starts and now everyone wants to race. I was surprised I was ranked No. 1 because there were many good girls.”
Ueda also showcased in New Plymouth last year where she finished 20th. A strong runner who thrives in warm climates, look for Ueda to factor at the end of the race.
Hungary’s Margit Vanek will be making a first-time appearance at New Plymouth. She enjoyed a few memorable performances last year, making the podium in her native Hungary at the 2014 Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup and scoring bronze as a member of the Mixed Relay Team at World Championships.
Last week saw a new Spanish Gomez on the rise when Tamara Gomez Garrido picked up her first World Cup win in Mooloolaba with a solid performance across the board.
Richard Murray (RSA) tops the men’s start list after already producing a strong start to the 2015 season. The dynamite runner demonstrated his speed in Abu Dhabi earlier this month where he held steady in the lead run pack and carried out a podium finish with bronze. Despite one of the leading men in the World Triathlon Series lineups, Murray has yet to secure a World Cup win and will look to do so on Sunday.
“I had a good first event in Abu Dhabi. I’m looking forward to New Plymouth, I hear there is a bit of rain coming so should be an interesting race,” Murray said.
New Zealand’s own Ryan Sissons is also set to compete in his first World Cup of the year. While he has had some strong performances in smaller circuits earlier in the year, such as winning the 2015 Takapuna OTU Sprint Triathlon Oceania Cup in February, Sissons will represent his homeland with hopes to claim another title.
For Russia’s Alexander Bryukhankov, this sprint course will mark his first ITU race of the year. Truly lethal across all three disciplines, the Russian has struggled to podium since finishing seventh at the London Olympics. But when Bryukhankov is on point, he’s tough to hold back.
|Results: Elite Men|
|5.||Gonzalo Raul Tellechea||ARG||00:53:08|