By Erin Greene on 24/06/14
In its debut on ITU’s World Triathlon Series calendar, Chicago promises to be one of the most exciting to date with maxed out age group races and three of the top four ranked men slated to compete on Sunday. Spectators will be treated to prime views of the elites as they swim 1500m in the Monroe Harbour, then bike 40km and run 10km through down town Chicago.
Having won three of the four WTS races this season, Javier Gomez (ESP) remains the man to beat. While he faltered slightly in London with a lack of explosive speed off the end of the 5km run, Gomez doesn’t take lightly to subpar performances. Expect the Spaniard to be back to his conquering ways in Chicago. Without the presence of the Brownlees, there’s no reason why Gomez shouldn’t clench his fourth win of the season, which would subsequently be his first ever WTS gold on US soil.
Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA) each cemented their seats on the men’s leaderboard in London with mind blowing speed. Although their velocity has produced higher results in sprint distances, both athletes have this year proved they can step up the speed over double the distance. This weekend, with just Gomez driving the pace, these speed demons have a solid shot at medals.
While the three jump out as heavy favourites, the men’s race is riddled with potential game changers. Four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper returns to WTS racing for the first time since last year. Despite varied results the last several years, Jarrod Shoemaker will start as the only American man to have won a WTS event.
Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) shouldn’t be discounted. Polyanskiy captured bronze in Cape Town when he held off Mola and Murray on the run, and is hot off a silver from the European Championships. Look for him to lead out of the swim and charge for the bike course out front.
Portugal’s Joao Pereira perked attention with his bronze medal in the sprint London race, but it remains to be seen if he can spread his speed out over a 10km run. Meanwhile, compatriot Joao Silva has yet to produce top results this year but can certainly compete with the best of them, and Ryan Sissons (NZL) can sizzle on the bike if he makes it out of the water in solid position.
Follow all the events live with timing and text updates, at triathlon.org/live and on twitter at @triathlonlive. Don’t forget to pick who you think will be on the men’s and women’s podiums with TRIFECTA.