The World Cup circuit hits the halfway mark on Sunday as it debuts in the northeastern coastal city of Palamos. Spain is one of two countries to host two World Cup events in 2013, with Palamos the first of those two races. With a brand new course, all bets are off as to who will dominate the two-lap ocean swim, seven-lap technical bike and three-lap flat run.
Spain’s own Ainhoa Murua heads up the women’s field. While Murua’s form is somewhat questionable with only three races under her belt this year, she carries valuable veteran experience that will no doubt play to her advantage on Sunday. She will also enjoy the help of the crowd on home soil.
A staple on previous World Cup tours, Annamaria Mazzetti (ITA) has largely bumped up to the World Triathlon Series with solid success this season. A strong runner, she just missed the podium at the Alanya ETU Triathlon Championships and looks to be in solid condition.
Kate Roberts (RSA) will look to make an impression on the field, having recently recorded one of her highest finishes in a WTS race. Teammate Gillian Sanders will join Roberts as one of the top women to keep an eye on having won her first Continental Championships in May.
Expect Claudia Rivas (MEX) to exit the water out in front. If she can hang on during the bike and front of the run, she could be a podium threat. Kirsten Sweetland (CAN) proved she is on the rise after a bronze medal finish in Edmonton, as well as an impressive bike performance on the grueling Kitzbuehel course.
The men’s race is laced with talent, led by Russia’s Dmitry Polyanskiy and Alexander Bryukhankov. Strong in all disciplines, expect Polyanskiy to push the pace. He’ll have the added advantage of competing alongside younger brother Igor. Last year, the pair collected gold and bronze at the Tongyeong World Cup.
While normally a fierce competitor, Bryukhankov has endured a trying season which has seen him fail to finish three WTS races. But when the Russian machine is switched on, there’s no holding him back.
Italy’s Alessandro Fabian is one of the fastest men in sneakers and shows no signs of slowing down. He was second in Alanya and fifth in Madrid, suggesting he could be ready for his first World Cup win.
The America’s Kyle Jones (CAN) and Crisanto Grajales (MEX) will also factor in the race. Jones recently repeated his National Title in Edmonton, while Grajales is no stranger to success in a World Cup race, having gleamed two podium finishes last year.
The women will head off first in Palamos at 9:00am local time on July 14. The men will compete next at 12:00pm. Live updates will be available on twitter @triathlonlive.
|Results: Elite Men|