With just two weeks to go until the final race of the 2010 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, the duel for the women’s world title is wide open. Reigning ITU World Champion Emma Moffatt of Australia currently leads the world rankings, but New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt sits only 52 points behind Moffatt, meaning the Kiwi is well within striking distance of this year’s world crown.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Moffatt and Hewitt’s current standing is that neither has won a Series event this year. Instead, consistency has been key to both athletes’ success in 2010. Moffatt has found herself in the lead bunch at almost every Series event this year, but hasn’t had the same finishing kick that saw her finish on top of the podium on four occasions in 2009. She has, however, finished on the podium three times this year, highlighted by a runner-up finish in Hamburg last month. Moffatt has only finished outside of the top five once this year, with a disappointing ninth-place showing in London.
Hewitt has also struggled with her finishing kick this season, but has still managed to finish in the top six at all five Series races in which she has competed. The Kiwi has found herself on the podium twice in 2010, with a runner-up finish at the Series opener in Sydney, and a third-place finish at round six of the Series in KitzbÃ¼hel.
While Moffatt and Hewitt are in the world title driver’s seat, they’re not the only two women with a shot at the crown at the Budapest Grand Final on September 12. With 1200 points available to the winner, Lisa Norden (SWE), Helen Jenkins (GBR) and Nicola Spirig (SUI) are all in contention for the title. Each of their fates will be largely determined by the performance of Moffatt and Hewitt in Budapest, but a weak showing by the current leaders would open up the door for any of these women to steal the world championship. Norden is in the best shape to do so, as she currently ranks third, 204 points back of Hewitt. The Swede appears to be in top shape heading into the end of the season, with a runner-up finish in Hamburg and a win at the first-ever ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championship in Lausanne last week.
The Elite races at the Budapest Grand Final will take place on September 11-12, with the men racing at 1:05 p.m. local time on Saturday and the women to follow at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Live coverage of both races will be available at triathlon.org/tv