The official start list for the elite fields in the Barfoot & Thompson Auckland World Series Triathlon in April were revealed by the ITU late yesterday, with the men’s field featuring 2 of the top 3 in the world (6 of the top 10) and the women’s field featuring 3 of the top 4 (5 of the top 10) ranked athletes from 2012.
The April 5-7 event is a festival of triathlon with a host of events for people of all abilities and backgrounds but the highlight for many will be the chance to see the best in the world ‘coming to play’ in Auckland with the elite races on the Saturday afternoon in the first round of the global series to find world champions.
Dave Beeche, CEO of event organiser Upsolut Oceania says New Zealand sports fans are in for a treat.
“We are going to see some of the most powerful athletes but also nations on the start line in Auckland next month with six of the top ten in the world lining up plus former world and Olympic champion Jan Frodeno (Germany). The Russian, German and French in particular are sending very strong men’s teams to Auckland, and of course we have the continued emergence of Ryan Sissons into the very best in the world as he leads the next generation of New Zealanders in the post London era.
“The women’s field is headlined by a return of the podium from last year as Anne Haug (Germany), Gwen Jorgenson (USA) and Barbara Riveros Diaz (Chile) return. Add to that two top ten ranked New Zealanders in Andrea Hewitt and Kate McIlroy who both enjoy genuine chances of making the podium in front of their home fans and you have a great race.
“The message we had last year was the athletes enjoyed the tough and challenging course, which is reflected in the quality of the field for an event that comes very early in the season after a busy Olympic campaign for most in 2012.”
Headlining the men is Javier Gomez (Spain) who last year held of Jonathan Brownlee in a thrilling sprint for the line to win the ITU Grand Final on the same Auckland CBD course. Gomez will face strong French (Laurent Vidal, Tony Moulai), Russian (the Polyanskiy and Brukankov brothers) and German (Frodeno, Justus, Bucholz) teams, as well as the New Zealanders led by world number 19 Ryan Sissons (Auckland).
The women’s field features the podium from last year’s ITU Grand Final with Anne Haug (Germany), Gwen Jorgenson (USA) and Barbara Riveros Diaz (Chile) all returning. The New Zealanders will mount a serious challenge though with 2012 world number 3 Andrea Hewitt and world number 10 Kate McIlroy leading the home effort.
The Australians will send a strong team led by world number 15 Ashleigh Gentle, Wellington Oceania Championship winner Felicity Abram and rising star Emma Jackson.
Entries are open online for all events across the three days of action, including a Friday twilight swim/run and a new initiative, the Saturday morning 5km Brunch Run/Walk.
Beeche says the idea is to invite as many New Zealanders as possible to participate.
“Sunday is a day of triathlon for all comers with sprint and standard distance events, both of which offer the chance for anyone to participate in the weekend and race on great courses in the heart of the Auckland waterfront.
“But the Saturday morning Brunch Run/Walk is a chance for anyone, regardless of ability or training to be involved. You can run on the same Queen Street course as the elites and choose to go as hard or as easy as you like. Bring the family along, get your friends together and walk the course, we want as many New Zealanders to experience being part of this event as we can.”
Barfoot & Thompson ITU Triathlon
Friday 5th April
12.00pm to 8.00pm Sport & Lifestyle Expo Open
6.30pm Twilight Swim/Run
Saturday 6th April
8.00am to 5.00pm Sport & Lifestyle Expo Open
9.30am Brunch 5km run
12.06pm Elite Men ITU WTS
3.06pm Elite Women ITU WTS
Sunday 7th April
9.00am to 5.00pm Sport & Lifestyle Expo Open
7.00am Sprint, Open and Team Triathlon
2.00pm Open and Sprint Team Relay Triathlons