American Jarrod Shoemaker has quietly put together one of the best seasons of his career. While we haven’t seen him on the podium at a Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship event this season, he has posted four top-ten finishes and heads into the Budapest Grand Final ranked seventh in the world. This weekend Shoemaker will hone his speed at the first-ever ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne and is looking forward to a fast and furious day of racing. We caught up with Shoemaker one day ahead of the big race in Switzerland.
In your experience doing sprint-distance races in the past, how have you seen the races unfold differently than an Olympic-distance event?
Usually in the sprint races things tend to stay apart. I think this is because you can go all out for 20K on the bike. The one big factor at tomorrow’s race is the hill. No one really knows how hard the guys are going to go up it—it’ll all depend on how people feel.
For the most part, the strong swimmers can really get away at a race this short. If the good runners don’t swim well, then the top guys out of the water can stay away for the whole race. There are a lot of great swimmers here, so it’s possible that it’ll just be one long line starting off the bike. If that’s the case, then you just have to make sure that you’re in the right place when a break happens.
How does a sprint race like this suit you? Do you have to plan things differently than a World Championship Series race?
Tomorrow will be all about the swim. The swim is such a huge part of the World Championship Series races to begin with, but it’s even more so here. One of the best things I have going for me at this race is that I’m ranked pretty high right now, so I’ll get to choose a good starting position on the pontoon. My plan is to position myself as close to the good swimmers as possible, or in the best line to the first buoy. After that I just have to make sure that I go as hard as I can for the first 300 to 400 metres so that I’m right there with the top swimmers.
Going into a World Championship Series race, you usually know which guys to look out for. Is this race a bit different because no one is really sure who will be strongest over this distance? Are there any dark horses that you’ll have your eye on tomorrow?
There are the obvious guys with a lot of speed to look out for – guys like Tim Don, Jonathan Brownlee and Brad Kahlefeldt. I think one of the guys who has a lot of potential to do well at a race like this is my teammate Cam Dye. He’s an excellent swimmer and biker and could be one to get away. There are a lot of other guys who have very strong swim and bike legs that I’ll have to keep an eye on. If someone takes a big lead off the bike, it can be really hard to catch him on a 5K run.
What do you think about the Team World Champs on Sunday? Do you think the Swiss team can repeat their win from last year in Des Moines?
I think the Swiss are definitely the favourites heading into the Team Champs. They’re the best team on the women’s side and they’ve got a couple of really strong guys, so you know they’ll put together a strong team. The French team has a lot of depth and should be right up there. Then of course there’s Great Britain. Overall, I’d have to say that Great Britain has the strongest team in the world right now. They have so much depth on both the men’s and women’s side.
I would love to see Team Triathlon become an Olympic sport. It’s so much fun for the athletes and obviously it’s very exciting for spectators. We had a ball doing it in Des Moines last year and it would be great to have the opportunity to race with your team for an Olympic medal.
The men’s Sprint Champs will be the first race of the weekend, kicking off at 10:15 a.m. local time on Saturday, with the women’s Sprint Champs to follow at 12:15 a.m. The Team World Champs will start at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Live text and timing from all the Elite races will be available at triathlon.org/tv
|Results: Elite Women|