This weekend is second round of the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series and as expected in a pre-Olympic year both men’s and women’s start lines are stacked with ITU stars.
In the men’s field, the battle between Javier Gomez (ESP) and Alistair Brownlee (GBR) that almost materialised in Sydney is surely set to happen here, as series leader Gomez aims for his first Dextro Energy Triathlon Series win in Spain while Brownlee targets his third consecutive Madrid title.
In the women’s field, series leader Paula Findlay (CAN) will wear the number one for the first time, and
deservedly so after winning three of her last four Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series races she’s contested. But there are a number of contenders who could knock either Gomez or Findlay off the top of the podium in Madrid.
About the race: Madrid has an impressive triathlon history, hosting regular World Cups from 2003 to 2009 – when it then became one of the host cities for the first Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series. The course winds its way through the Casa De Campo park in central Madrid, offering a quick sightseeing tour around one of Europe’s most dynamic cities. The challenging bike course, with a 12 per cent climb on each lap, always offers opportunities for breakaways. Madrid, with a population of over 3.2-million is the largest city in Spain and the third largest city in Europe.
Elite men start – Saturday 4 June – 10:00 (UTC/GMT + 2)
Elite women start – Sunday 5 June – 14:30 (UTC/GMT + 2)
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
$150,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5km swim with a pontoon start into the Casa de Campo lake, wetsuits are not expected.
Bike – Four-lap, 40km bike around the Casa de Campo park featuring a 12% grade climb on each lap. Once summiting the 400m climb, the rest of each bike lap is mostly downhill.
Run – Four-lap, 10km run is also around the park, mostly flat and finishes back at the lake.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Javier Gomez vs Alistair Brownlee – The 2011 season could very well come down to a Javier Gomez and Alistair Brownlee affair and perhaps it would have been exactly that in Sydney if the Brit hadn’t slipped in the run on a rain-slicked Sydney course. Instead, it was younger brother Jonathan Brownlee that ran into second behind the Spanish champ. But Gomez and Alistair Brownlee both have history in Madrid. Gomez hasn’t won a Dextro Energy Triathlon Series round here yet and Brownlee has won the last two years. Gomez’s form in Sydney was incredible though, after a crash on the bike he rode 10km by himself and then put in a blistering run split to catch, then overtake the pack to win by 20 seconds. Don’t forget about the younger Brownlee though, the silver in Sydney was his second Dextro Energy Triathlon Series medal and he could be on track for an even better senior year that his break through one in 2010.
The chance to make amends – It’s not often the Aussie Emmas enter a Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series race and don’t make the podium but Beijing 2008 gold medallist Emma Snowsill and reigning ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt failed to reach it at home in Sydney. Snowsill had a rough swim leg and was out of contention from the start, while Moffatt faded to finish 13th. It’s the first time both are contesting the Madrid leg of the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race, but if they are at their best, will be hard to beat. In the men’s, it will be men’s 2008 Olympic champion Jan Frodeno (GER) and last year’s series bronze medallist Brad Kahlefeldt (AUS) looking for a new start to 2011. In Sydney, Frodeno turned with the leaders into T2 but ended-up finishing 45th, while Kahlefeldt did not finish.
The new contenders – It’s seems like it’s been a long day since that rainy day in Sydney for the season opener, but since then a group of triathletes have cut themselves a slice of history in World Cup races in Japan and Mexico. Rising Australian star Brendan Sexton claimed his first World Cup win in Monterrey, following on from silver in Mooloolaba and fourth in Sydney already this year. In the women’s field, Sarah Haskins (USA) claimed her first career World Cup gold in Monterrey. And while they aren’t new, Hunter Kemper (USA) and Frederic Belaubre (FRA) have hit some form. Kemper claimed his first World Cup win since 2005 in Ishigaki and backed it up with bronze in Monterrey, while Belaubre’s silver in Monterrey was his first World Cup medal since 2007.
PREVIOUS MADRID WINNERS:
2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Madrid
1. Nicola Spirig (SUI) 1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2009 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Madrid
1. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 1. Alistair Brownlee (GBR)