Thursday, 15 December 2011

Mauritius CC - Dec 17

Startlist can be found here

Last ITU race for 2011. When you factor in that pts are cut to 1/3 in new year I find it really hard to reason why you would travel to Mauritius to race, other than for a holiday. Nevertheless every point counts.

A lagoon swim will produce calm and bouyant waters which should yield a fast swim. Expect Ji (KOR) to lead things out with Toft (DEN) on his feet.

Whether the swim breaks up or not there should be a group of 8ish formed early on in the bike. With warm/humid temperatures and a even matched field I don't really see things shaking up too much on the bike unless Toft and Bai (CHN) can pump the pace and reduce the group a bit. This will ultimately come down to the 10k.

Bai (CHN) with experience and results running in humid conditions will take the win here. Hollaus should take silver unless he fails to make the group out of the water and Naude (RSA) who has looked more impressive as of late and will take bronze.

Darkhorse: Anyone else

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Pretoria CC - Nov 27th

start list can be found here

A similar cast here in Pretoria as last weekend in Troutbeck with some key additions who will make this a better all round race. Although not quite as high as Troutbeck, Pretoria is still at about 4200ft so heavy breathing will still remain a factor.

The course looks to be a 2lap lake swim (no wetsuit?), 2 lap hilly bike and the usual 4 lapper run.

Wolfaardt (RSA) will be deemed the favourite for this one, coming off a win last week in the aforementioned Troutbeck African Cup. However, as suggested, some additions to the field in this race will make things a bit spicier for the Wolfman.

Out of the water this one will be led out by fishy youngster Schoeman (RSA). Louw (NIM) will do well to catch Schoeman's feet early and just follow the bubbles. I see this group of two getting a gap on the chase pack which will be lead by De Falbaire (MRI). The chase will likely include Wolfarrdt, Felgate (ZIM), Pocsia and Fecskovics(HUN), and Blignaut and Naude (RSA). Guys who don't make this group are in for a long day I'm afraid.

With the bike being just 2 laps and featuring a significant climb, Louw has the opportunity to solo this bike. No joke. The real deal as showcased in Lausanne Sprint Champs where he shared a lot of work with the BBoys up front. I say Schoeman drops off back to the chase and Louw solo's to a 90' lead off the bike.

Now, here is where things get interesting. It seems with each Senior race Louw's 10k has been getting stronger. From the chase, Fecskovics, Felgate, and Wolfaardt will have the best run legs. Edge to Fecskovics with not having raced 7 days ago.

I feel Louw holds on for the Win stuffing it to the pack while Fecskovics takes silver and Wolfaardt the bronze.

Darkhorse: Pocsai (HUN)

Can't wait for ITU to get results checking here

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Troutbeck CC - Nov 19th

Startlist can be found here

The start of the late season African Cherry Picks starts this weekend with Troutbeck. At over 6000ft. Troutbeck will serve up some serious altitude to the startlist of 9 men.

Should be a simple race. De Falbaire (MRI) should lead out the swim with Wolfaardt (RSA), Felgate (ZIM) [may not start to sickness] and perhaps Naude (RSA). The chase will be headed by Jefferson (USA) and Nour (EGY).

The leaders will not want to mess around too much on the bike as Jefferson is the best runner in the field.

Gap off the bikes might be 60-80s.

Podium looks like: Wolfaardt 1st, Jefferson 2nd, Felgate 3rd [if starts] / De Falbaire else.

Darkhorse: Nour (EGY)

Auckland WC - Nov 20th

Startlist can be found here

Auckland will host the final World Cup of 2011 on the North island this Sunday. The host country will boast 11 athletes on the line in hopes of pleasing what should be a large local crowd with a win.

Wetsuit harbour swim should bring the lads back to shore in a large group. Varga (SVK) with the lead out unless a spirited kiwi such as McNeice or Elvery (NZL) has intentions to get the party started early.

What has been deemed a proper bike loop should test the legs for strength and power on the 8 lap circuit. Again, expect a few all-blacks to take a crack at something. Davison, Elvery, Gemmel (NZL) will all be on the lookout for a break. Judging by the length of the longest hill (500m), you are looking at a 80s interval or so. That is enough to cause some seperation in a large group. I see some shrapnel coming off the group into the later stages of the ride and the group coming into T2 as 20 or so.

With regards to late season form there seems to be some variance. Vidal (FRA) looks to holding good, Docherty (NZL) has not raced since a Yokohama DNF, and Rana (ESP) has been racing everything in sight with consistent mid-form. Hugget (AUS) makes his return to racing after a injury filled season, and Sissons (NZL) seems to have already taken the break and now building back towards 2012.

That being said i feel we still a lot of the familar faces towards the front of the run. I feel we see Sissons take his first major win sending the crowd into a frenzy with Docherty just behind in 2nd and Shoemaker having his best result this season with 3rd.

Darkhorse: Fisher (AUS)

New Flag Watch:
Asia: Heo (KOR) vs. Gagg (KAZ) , Europe: Banti (MON) vs. Stojanovic (SRB), Pan-Am: Butterfield (BER), Africa: Essadiq (MAR)

Panama CC - Nov 20th

Startlist can be found here

A very scenic course near Panama City offers up a late season Pan-Am Cup. A late season race like this can be hit or miss with performances as some athletes have extended their race schedule too long while others may be just reaching form from earlier injuries. It will also mark the return of Victor Plata (USA) to ITU racing, veteran amongst vets, and the emergence of Leo Chacon's little bro, Rafael, to senior racing.

On this card there does not seem to be a standout swimmer. The non-wetsuit ocean swim should be pushed by Lamar and Lutz (USA), Lobo (VEN) and Cuevas (DOM) if he has regained some of his previous form. These quartet may have a bit of a gap coming out of the water and onto the bikes. Add on a few bridgers, such as Arias (COL) and Perez and Fischer (VEN), and you have a threat on this bike.

The 2 lap rolling bike course could offer the advantage to the lead group of 'out of site out of mind'. Any sort of chase group in this race I feel will be underpowered and unmotivated to close.

Off the bikes in T2 Arias will take out the pace with Lobo and Lamar in tail.

Arias should have no issues taking this win with Lobo taking silver and Perez third.

Darkhorse: Plata (USA)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Agadir CC - Nov 12th

Startlist can be found here

Looking like the most competitive African Cup for 2011, the Central coastal town of Agadir will host what looks like a French National Team training session.

In what should be a choppy ocean swim in borderline wetsuit temps, we should see Luis (FRA) lead the Frenchmen plus Morroccan native Essadiq (MAR) plus perhaps Rank (GER). Luis and Raphael (FRA) will combo to push the swim pace to try and rid the group of Rank (4th Hamburg WCS) who serves the best chance of spoiling a French podium sweep. Prediction is he will not make the pack.

Luis first out of the water will lead the tight group onto the hilly 2-lap bike. Here we could see perhaps Moulai (FRA) try something, but with all of the lead athletes so highly skilled, a break will be hard to come by.

In and out of T2 we should see Luis (FRA), who should great footspeed in the Relay Champs of Lausanne this August, take things out hard. Vidal (FRA), Hauss, and Moulai should all remain in contact with Raphael falling off pace just a bit. Being a 2 lap run will make it a bit tougher to pace I think with less reference points. Moulai and Luis could fall off the front next as the group closing in on 8k.

In two close finishes for first and third I feel we see Vidal take 1st, Hauss 2nd and Luis 3rd.

Darkhorse: Raphael

Friday, 4 November 2011

Startlist can be found here

Making an exception with this one. Not draft legal but looks to be a good field on a very tough course. Almost 10,000ft of climbing for the 100k bike + 30k run combo....can you say glutes?

Little unsure of how these races typically unfold, but I would feel a smallish group of 4 getting out of the water together of Poulat (FRA) leading Sudrie (FRA), M.Raelert (GER) and Dellow (AUS) with perhaps Gambles (AUS) and Blanchart (ESP) just off the back of it.

The front 4 will set the tempo as the ride begins. It being hilly will lend itself to the chasers as the lead groups rhythm will be broken up and not as organized. Rapp (USA), Cigana (ITA), and Jensen (DEN) will be the big movers on the bike, perhaps bringing a few others along as well.

With such a tough, strongmans ride, I feel Rapp and Jensen along with the two Frenchies could find themselves up on the others by T2.

While Raelert is the best runner on paper, his 2 consecutive 70.3 races leading into this will hold some heaviness in the legs over the 30k. Blanchart, euro LD champ, could look to have a strong run.

Sudrie looks too strong here on this course and I see him winning his second world LD title. Rapp taking silver and Raelert bronze.

Darkhorse: Loy (FRA)

Guatape WC - Nov 6th

Startlist can be found here

First World played at Altitude since the early 90's?? Looks like it. Last couple ITU events I can think of at altitude were Longmont CC in 2007 and 2008 Schliersee CC. The athletes have had many different strategies to hit this one (arrive early/late, train high/higher), perhaps the ones with the most experience with altitude will be better suited to perform their best on the day.

The course will be a non-wetsuit swim to the sounds of it in a dam induced lake. The cycle is 4 laps essentially climbing out to the turn-around and descending back to transition. The run I have heard has a few hills in it as well. With an earlier start the temp should be comfortable.

Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects to this race is the return of Andy Potts. Still on the startlist, it appears he is toeing the line.

With a near full startlist, and a lot of solid but not stand out swimmers, things should stay together with the exception of a few flyers off the front like Varga (SVK), Farias (ARG), Gonzalez (CUB) and Potts (USA). Varga for the leadout welcoming Potts back with bubbles to chase. If there is a gap out of the lake expect it to be swallowed up quickly on the bike.

With it being a hilly ride at elevation expect things to split up on this one. I anticipate riders like Butterfield (BER,pending decent swim), Home boy Quinchara (COL), Gemmell (NZL), Chacon (CRC), McMahon (CAN), Chrabot (USA) making efforts to stir the group on the climbs out of transition. I feel a group of 8'ish could ride away putting the podium out of reach.

Into T2 the break should contain 3 medal contenders. From the chase, the likes of Perez (ESP), Diemunsch (FRA), Shoemaker (USA) will be looking to pick their way forward.

It's a tougher call with the added variables but here are picks:

1. Gemmell 2. Moulai 3. Chrabot

Darkhorse: Fidalgo (ESP), Quinchara (COL)

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Alanya CC - Nov 2

Startlist can be found here

Strange date for this one being mid-week. In years past i've heard this race is a strange format as well with a ferry taking you to an island and then swim back to land to T1. It looks like the race changed in 2010 to a standard 2 lap swim though as the event was bidding for Euros. It won and will be 2013 Europeans.

I'm excited for this swim I must say. Perhaps more stoked than any other race to date. Raoul Shaw (FRA) will make his ITU debut. Who is he? He has led out every French GP I've seen and been known to even put time into Richard Varga. That was over 750m, here he has double that real estate. So no doubt he will lead it out....with perhaps Vasiliev (RUS) if Shaw chooses to have some company to start the bike.

The main group, essentially a Eastern Euro training session, will be about a dozen. Sapunov (UKR) and Malyshev (RUS) should be a fair amount of regular work to bring them up to our 2 leaders before T2.

Onto the run with all major contenders in tact Vasiliev and Martynenko (UKR) are both hot having won races in the past two weeks. Having not finished a race since Kitzbuhel WCS it is hard to gauge what type of fitness Unger (GER) has, but you can never count the '08 World Champ out. Throw in some more solid veterans like Tutukin and Sysoev (RUS), Syutkin (UKR), and Rouault (FRA, unsure of start) and you have a solid run to unfold. Through the first 5k we should see a group of 5 or 6 running together. The eastern bloc rivals will be sure to leave the tanks empty as they battle over the closing lap.

A toss up, but I'll go with Meshcheryakov (RUS) showing us some of the 2010 World Cup winning form followed by Martynenko (UKR) and Malyshev of Russia.

Darkhorse: Tsvetkov (UKR)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pan-Am Games / Puerto Vallarta - Oct. 23

startlist can be foundhere

With the winner grabbing a coveted Olympic spot for their country, this Pan-Am Championship will be a tactical affair. Canada, USA, Brazil, and Mexico will all be looking to get the win and may employ team tactics to do so.

A non-wetsuit choppy swim should help the strong swimmers seperate themselves. With a rolling chop, any gap presented can grow quite quickly. Look for Farias (ARG) or Gonzalez (CUB) to lead the guys out in T1. I feel there will be a group of 8-10 players out with a 30s gap.

This lead group will need to be aware of who is there to work and who is there to not. If Fretta (USA), Garza (MEX) and/or a Brazilian makes the pack, they likely will be there to slow the pace up to have their 'targeted countrymen' bridge up and challenge on the run for the win. It will be up to the others in the group to keep these aforementioned athletes at the back and work themselves to keep the pace hot.

The bike course does and does not suit a breakaway. There are many out and back sections not allowing the pack to get out of sight. However the route is technical which favours a smaller group. The lead pack will have strong technical riders in there as well with McMahon (CAN) likely to be leading them through the corners.

My gut tells me the packs will merge about midway through. A lot of games will then ensue with countries trying to get any edge they can into T2. I see the pack staying relatively together and this being decided on the 10k.

Coming off a strong performance in Huatulco, Chrabot (USA) has a good record at running in Mexico and its tough conditions. Canadians Jones and McMahon have also shown good run form in hot weather this season. Then you have substitute Huerta (USA) who is a major threat and could seal the deal as well. Throw in Colucci (BRA), Grajales (MEX) and Butterfield (BER) and you have a race!

A group of 10 will run the opening lap together. Then things will heat up and the group will whittle its way down to 4 by the final mile.

This is a very tough one to call but I feel Jones (CAN), after a frustrating month of September, will unleash a strong performance to take the Win followed by Chrabot (USA) and Huerta (USA).

Darkhorse: Taccone (ARG), Butterfield (BER)

Sanshui CC - Oct 23

startlist can be found here

Just a week after Tongeyong it is surprising that more athletes didn't partake in a double dip here for this Asian Cup in China. With two larger Euro Cups later this month along with Noosa Trithere is just too many options for late October!

After a strong swim performance in Tongeyong, I.Vasilev looks to be gaining his swim form back which was so dominant in '07 and '08. He will lead this one out on his own or perhaps with Davison (NZL) on his feet. This will be Davison's race if he can stick with Ivan over the 1500m. It would also be to Vasilev's gain to have Davison with him on the bike as they are both strong cyclist which could put away the rest of the field by T2.

I feel the duo will come out of the water together with perhaps one wild card in Fang (CHN). Onto the bike these motivated athletes will lay down a solid ride and distance themselves from the chase group including several Chinese athletes like Bai and Zhang along with Tsubaki (JPN).

Off the bike with as a trio with a good cushion the podium will be a done deal. Vasilev will run to the win with Fang (CHN) and Davison taking strong results in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Darkhorse: Robinson (AUS)

Friday, 14 October 2011

Tongeyong WC - Oct 15th

Startlist can be found here

Almost late for the party, but will just squeeze in. Tongeyong once again will host a WC/WCS event going back with quite a tradition with ITU racing.

Wetsuit conditions will make for a fast swim in the korean harbour. Wetsuits usually bring the group together but in years past this has not been the case in Tongeyong. A lot of the big swimmers in this field are 'power' swimmers and the wetsuit will suit their style.

Varga will be doing the 5-day double here, racing last weekend in Huatulco. Lets live dangerous and take an upset with Raphael (FRA) (coming off a stress fracture) to lead things out with a group of russians and a few others such as: Davison, Dodds and Elvery (NZL), Vanek (HUN), Louw (NAM) and Heo (KOR) in a group of 10 or so.

The 5 lap bike has had its share of breaks stick and i think again we see motivated Russians and surrounding horsepower keep a group of 10-12 away from the main group which will contain threats such as Lescure (FRA), Celustka (CZE) and Jaskolka (POL). I expect the gap to be 90'' by T2.

Onto the run the Polyansky (RUS) brothers will lead things for the first lap. Depending on how his run fitness has come along, Raphael may be able to hang with for 2.5k. From the chase I don't think we see any run onto the podium, but top 8's would certainly be a possibility.

Taking the tape should be D.Polyansky followed by younger bro Igor and wild card Heo (KOR) to steal Korea's first ever WC podium?

Darkhorse: Billington (USA), Alessandroni (ITA)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mombasa CC - Oct 8th

Starlist can be found here

Late season African Cups tend to not field a strong event and this race follows similar suit. Essentially this will be a 3or4-man race in Kenya.

It is races like this one where I really feel the ITU needs to adopt a better all-round performance measuring system for Point Accumulation at events. A 'Field Factor' or Handicap for each race varying on the ranking of athletes starting and finishing the event would give a more representative measure for ranking pts.

Regardless, this CC will see a podium and I feel the race will play out like this:

Out of the water we will have Fanous (JOR) and Essadiq (MAR) with Murphy (IRL) and perhaps a Belgian just off the back. Murphy will bridge solo up to these two and the lead group of 3 will roll around the ride saving their legs for the run.

After a competive 10k between these 3 I feel we see Murphy (IRL) take first with Essadiq second and Fanous third.

Darkhorse: Bader (BEL)

Myrtle Beach CC - Oct 9th

Starlist can be found here

The last race of the USAT elite series goes this weekend in South Carolina. With one of the weaker fields so far in the series, the race will still be dynamic and a exciting.

Kemper (USA) will undoubtedly be looking to have the race play out in similar fashion as the previous race in Buffalo. I feel it will play out in the same matter as long as the swim is kept strong enough. Out of the water we will see Zaferes (USA) lead out with a group or 8 or 9 in tow.

The opening stages of the bike will be hot, and hotter if Shoemaker is in the mix with Kemper. This time around I feel Shoemaker will be in the lead bunch which will make the ride a bit more tactical. Unaware of the bike profile, the 8 looper appears to a pancake variety with 1x180. This lead group of 10ish will build a lead over the chase which will hold threat Van Ort (USA).

Off the bike with 2 mins the podium will be determined from the lead pack. Kemper will cruise to the W with Shoemaker and Glushchenko (UKR) rounding out the podium.

Darkhorse: Zaferes

Huatulco WC - Oct 9th

Startlist can be found here

After a year of reprieve from 'el Jefe', the traditional hilly bike course is back for Huatulco WC. Referred to as the 'hardest WC ever' by Kris Gemmel back in '08, this race has its' most competitive field to date which will no doubt make it even more strenuous. Past Champ Matt Chrabot (USA) and 2xrunner up Ruedi Wild (SUI) headline the field along with WCS Yokohama Champ Joao Silva (POR).

Things get started with a warm salt water swim composed of a 1000m loop followed by 500m. Surf is negible and with years past the group has stayed together for the most part. This year with the 'Varga Factor' being present we may see a split and or a smaller group of 10'ish get away from the mob. If Varga (SVK) is wise he'll push it just enough to form the split and then keep it strong for the remainder. No doubt he'll be first out onto the bikes followed by other outside heat ranked athletes such as Gonzalez (CUB) and Farias (ARG).

The most interesting segment of this race will be the bike. How the intial pace plays out will be intriguing. Essentially the bike has two smaller big ring stand up climbs right out of T1 followed by a flat bumpy section, El Jefe, and then the descent/flat return to Tranny. Strong high W/kg riders will be dangerous here as shown previously by Chrabot (USA). In the back half of the bike is where we see some athletes get away here, perhaps 5 or 6 getting a gap into T2. The main group will progessively shrink throughout the ride with guys dropping off with each visit to El Jefe.

On the run we will get a view of what kind of strength the athletes have left in their legs after a speed filled summer season. The run also has some hills to it combined with tough hot/humid weather.

Across the finish i feel we see Chrabot continue his strong performances at tough event like this in 1st followed by Silva (POR) and McMahon (CAN).

Darkhorse: Baille (AUS), Uccellari (ITA)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Yokohama WCS - Sept 19th

Startlist can be found here

The rescheduled Yokohama WCS will get under tomorrow in the first major sporting event to be held after the tragic tsunami events that struct the rising sun this past March.

With this event counting towards 2012 WCS ranking, many athletes are looking to get a jump start on next years campaign.

Hot muggy, conditions will face the athletes as they toe the pontoon. Chance of showers is also forcasted.

The swim will be a salt water affair in some slight chop. You could go with a few of the russians to lead out the swim but I feel Tayama (JPN) will look to really give the homecrowd a pleasant surprise leading the boys into T1.

The bike is flat, but quite technical. A similar route to Seoul WCS which was anything but easy. The chance of rain will be the kicker. If wet, we could see some of the technical savy riders shoot a break. Two initial groups out of the water will form, I feel they will merge after 2 laps. A break will be launched with two laps to go out of the 8 bringing a few athletes (perhaps a Charbot [USA],Rana [ESP],Alterman [ISR] combo) into T2 with a slight lead on the major contenders.

Riederer (SUI) looked quite impressive last weekend and will again be up front. Without the top 3 suspects racing i think we could see quite a large group of runners until 7.5k where a few will up the pace.

Down the line it should be a close 1,2,3 with Don (GBR) stealing the show with Shoemaker (USA) and Whitfield (CAN) rounding out the podium. Tough call.

Darkhorse: Jones (CAN), Mola (ESP)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Beijing GF - U19 Men

Startlist can be found here

Last race of the weekend is the U19 Men. Quite a lot of talent in this one with many guys capable of taking the W.

Out of the water it will be a battle between Barclay (NZ) and Knabl (AUT), go with Knabl.

As the ITU voice Barry Shepley once said: " what i like about the young guys is that they are full of spunk..." and that is exactly what Barclay will be looking to display on the opening stages of the bike. The bulk of the athletes though will be in a big bunch 20'' or so behind. The catch will occur and we will have a good size group into T2.

Again, with the hard bike perhaps some of the fastest runners may be neutralized a bit here on the 5k if bike strength is lacking. However you cannot doubt a sub 4' miler in Verzbicas (USA) taking this unless his swim is really not on . The other two spots will be highly contested, my gut goes with the following:

Podium: Gold Verzbicas (USA) Silver Darmon (ISR) Bronze Nunez (MEX)

Darkhorse: Woodfine (CAN)

Beijing GF - Elite Women

Startlist can be found here

50% so far with Podium Picking, lets keep the ball rolling.

The Womens Elite race will be the most exciting of all the races this weekend. There are 4 ladies that have a shot of being World Champion and many others looking for the GF win.

The excitement will start right away in the swim. Look for Lang (GBR) to stretch things out and try to help Jenkins (GBR) shed a few threats such as Riveros Diaz (CHI), Findlay (CAN), and the Emma's (AUS).

Lead out by Lang (GBR) we'll see others like Jensen (DEN), Harrison (FRA), Bennett & Groff (USA), and Jenkins & Blatchford (GBR) there as well looking to get an early break established. A lot depends on Spirig (SUI), and Norden's (SWE) swim split. If they are similar and can work together than expect these two to bridge up picking up others and dragging with them whoever else can 'hang on'.

I think two equal sized groups are formed by lap 2 and we see the gap hover around 45''-60'' throughout.

Onto the run you have to favour Jenkins with this bike course, however Riveros Diaz (CHI) is better suited to the run course. This is what makes triathlon so unique; one sport is affected by the other throughout the entire race!

If not too hot out i think we'll see a low 33' run take gold. For the podium I like:

Podium: Gold Jenkins Silver Riveros Diaz Bronze Ueda

Darkhorse: Frederiksen (DEN)

Friday, 9 September 2011

Beijing GF - U23 Women

Startlist can be found here

Smallest field of the weekend but with some strength of World Cup podiums. This swim should seperate with Schaerer (SUI) and K.Coates (CAN) heading the front group. Schaerer with the lead out.

A lead group of 8 or so will be highly motivated to stay away from the weaker swimmers but stronger runners in the chase. It really will come down to teamwork to make it happen but I see the large chase mob merging after 2 laps.

Into T2 as a group with all contenders there are some strong runner here that will take things out quick. Ultimately it will be the runner who has the most left in the legs from the demanding bike.

Podium: Gold Robisch (GER) Silver Jervyk (POL) Bronze Yelistratova (UKR)

Darkhorse: A.Coates (CAN) Shiver (USA)

Beijing GF - Elite Men

Startlist can be found here

Out of the swim Polyansky (RUS) will do the honours but with a long train tailing out behind him.

On the bike I feel we will see some strong agression here. Guys like Riederer (SUI), Clarke (GBR) who needs a podium to Auto qualify, Petzold (GER), and Wild (SUI) will all put in big digs on the hills. A few may get dropped but more likely it will stay together for a very tired legged run.

On the 10k I have a gut feeling we'll see take on the Brownlees and Gomez here. Riederer is an inclination along with Whitfield (CAN) who rumour has it is in top form.

Podium: Gold: Gomez Silver: Riederer Bronze: J. Brownlee

Darkhorse: Whitfield

Beijing GF - U19 Women

Startlist can be found here

This is going to be a toughy. With Juniour racing it is very difficult to predict how the athletes will show up on race day. Here goes....

One thing for absolute certain is that Lucy Hall (GBR) will lead out. By how much I think only she and her coach know. Play it smart and cruz it or go hard and hope carnage behind ensues.

Bike strength here I must admit is unknown other than Ridenour (CAN) knows who to turn a crank. With this hilly bike i think we will definitely see splinter groups, many and smaller numbers. Lead pack should have main contenders in it with perhpas a small break off the front mid-way thru like we saw in the U23M race.

The America's look to have some strong athletes that will look to assert early on the 5k run. Whitley (USA) and Pennock & Brown (CAN) all have good leg speed. Van Coevorden (AUS) holds the best Oceania threat while Philippin (GER) had a solid all rounder winning Euros.

Gold: Pennock (CAN) Silver: Brown (CAN) Bronze: Whitley

Darkhorse: Pap (HUN)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Beijing GF - U23 Men

Over the course of the weekend I will try to preview each of the elite fields in the World Champs / WCS Grand Finale.

Up first we have an exciting U23 Men field that boasts a lot of progressing talent. A great lineup to kick start the Championships.

Using the same Field of Play as the 2008 Olympic Games the course is tough with muggy conditions. The swim will be 1 lap non-wetsuit, 6 lap hilly bike, finishing with a 4 lap run.

The original U23M startlist had some serious fish in Varga (SVK) and Raphael (FRA), unfortunate injuries to both athletes have taken them off the startline. I feel there is still enough muscle however to get a break going. The 1 lap swim with a long distance to the first turn bouy plays in favour for the stronger swimmers and will help to form a group of 15 out of the water. Swim honours should go to either Salvisberg (SUI), LeCorre (FRA), Sharpe (CAN) or Vasilev (RUS), whomever really wants it....never doubt a motivated russian so lets go with Vasilev.

Expect Vasilev to absolutley hammer the opening stages of the ride with others in tow. The chase group which should be down roughly 30s will have a tough time eating into the lead group over the first few laps. It will be from laps 4-6 where gains could be made if an efficient unit is orchestrated.

The lead group will have the main contenders, which is essentially the entire British squad and Polyanskiy (RUS). However they will still be wary of the chase which will hold some serious run threats in Loeschke (GER), Billington (USA), Robbins (AUS) and Diemunsch (FRA).

I do not see the chase merging with our front group. The leaders will look to have 1' coming into T2.

Onto the run I think we see a strong British contingent leading out. The one aspect that the Brits may lack is acclimation to the muggy heat. I'd like to call a British sweep but I'll break it up with a Russian in there.

Podium: 1. Bishop (GBR) 2. Sharp (GBR) 3. Polyanskiy (RUS)

Darkhorse: Robbins (AUS)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Maputo African Games - Sept 4th

Startlist can be found here

As an ITU recognised games event the 10th African Games will not offer ITU points but prestige and honor will definitley be all the line for all competitors.

Unfortunately, the timing of the event is not ideal for fielding the best possible field. Many of the stronger athletes are Beijing Bound and have taken a pass on the games.

That being sad however, we will have a race and great development will come out of the the inclusion of triathlon in these games.

Out of the swim we should see a pack of four athletes: Felgate (ZIM), Wolfaardt (RSA), De Falbaire (MRI), and young Sullwald (RSA), with the Mauritian leading out.

Felgate and Wolfaardt may be able to shed the 2 others on the bike if the route is tough enough, but if the younger guys play their cards/matches right they could stay into T2.

Onto the run this will be Wolfaardt's race to lose. Unless nutrition or heat get the better of him we should see the podium as Wolfaardt, Felgate, and Sullwald.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Vila Velha CC PATCO Sprint Champs - August 28

Startlist can be found here

Have lost routine with staying on top of races, need to get back to it, no excuses.

With ITU points on the line for 2 sprint races in each continent this season Vila Velha acts as the second PATCO sprint and its championships.

Even with the swim being shorter I think we still see a gap of 15out of the water from Farias (ARG) and Fernandes (BRA). With it being an ocean swim I feel the gap may be even more depending on surf levels given Farias's Buenos Aires beach roots.

Onto the bike these two will be motivated to stay away as 30s+ off the bike is what they would need for the win. Although the motivation will be high I do not see them staying away from a high powered chase of Sclebin, Moriera, Carvalho (BRA), and Perciado (COL) to name a few.

Coming into T2 together as group of 12-15 we'll see Perciado (COL) take the pace out hard over the first k with Carvlho (BRA). Sclebin (BRA) tends to build his run like a freight train, but he may run out of room if left to late.

I feel we see Sclebin still take the win with Cavanha Conceicao in second and Carvalho rounding out the Brazilian Sweep.

Darkhorse: Pimentel (BRA)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Tiszaujvaros WC - Aug 14th

Startlist can be found here

Apologies for anyone following this blog for the missed post for the biggest and baddest race of the year in London. I completly forgot.

On to this weekend and we have a quite a even field in Tizzy for the 15th rendition of this World Cup.

A calm water non-wetsuit should be a congested affair with tight turns and exits. There are not a lot of fish in this field but still enough to push a good swim. Expect to see the Salvisberg brothers (SUI), I.Polyanskiy (RUS), Kerr (AUS), Vanek (HUN) and McMahon (CAN) near the front at the exit.

The bike features a 5k'ish length transfer from the lake to loops in the town. This section is often critical to the rest of the bike portion regarding groups. If a front group out of the water can hold the chase at bay till this point we could see it stick. With a boisterous hungarian crowd on hand, the number of hungarians in the front group could raise its chances to stay away. Key factors to a front group staying away are the swims of bike powerhouses Pais (POR) and Rana (ESP) and Sclebin (BRA).

I think we see a large group roll into T2 on this run and the race becoming a 10k around the city streets. With narrow sections the run can become a strategic affair. On to the podium i think we see Hug (SUI), Huerta (USA) and Sharp (GBR) do the honours.

Darkhorses: Murry (RSA), Hofer (ITA)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Banyoles CC - July 31st

Startlist can be found here

Can anyone beat Javier? Doubling as Spanish Championships, Banyoles boasts a strong field of euro's and internationals.

With the swim taking place in a rowing basin, it should be quite quick. Some strong swimmers such as Varga (SVK), Gomez (ESP), Bird (CAN), Kerr (AUS), Zachaeus (GER) will look for a break. Varga with the leadout (4 consecutive races for Varga = Beast)

With London WCS next weekend, Gomez will be looking for a strong swim/bike with a smaller group to coast home on the run. The chase should host podium threats like Mola (ESP), Lescure (FRA) and Leckie (GBR). Croes (BEL) will no doubt be in there as well driving the group.

With the bike being quite technical as described the smaller lead group may be able to keep a gap and or improve upon it with some motivation.

Onto the run, temperatures are expected in the 30's so heat will be a factor. Gomez takes the win with Mola and Lescure claiming the other spots running up from the chase.

Darkhorses: Bishop (GBR), Gunby (GBR), Gonzalez (MEX), Alarza (ESP)

Singapore CC - July 30th

Startlist can be found here

A hot humid race awaits these athletes for this asian Cup. A flat course with an ocean water swim should be a close affair amongst the top 5. The depth in the field after that is lacking.

Out of the water we should see an aussie out front, either Simpson or McMaster (AUS). The Alterman brothers (ISR) will be up front as well and looking for some distance between themselves and Sato (JPN).

The Alterman's (ISR) will push the first part of the bike to try and get away with the Aussies. With a thin field this may be quite manageable with fast T1's.

Sato (JPN) who has results in the heat poses the biggest threat to disrupting the podium prediction of Alterman (ISR), McMaster (AUS), Alterman (ISR). If within 1' off the bike Sato has a shot but I don't see it unfolding.

Darkhorse: Louw (NAM)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Geneva CC - July 24th

Startlist can be found here

A couple of heavy weights will battle this one out in the water. Varga (SVK) and Amberger (AUS) will push the pace in this swim looking for a smaller group to get away with. Varga (SVK) is the stronger swimmer but some teamwork could make the 1500m even quicker.

On to this hilly 8 lap bike we should see a lead group of 5 or so start with a 20-30s advantage. Amberger (AUS) has been hitting the bike hard with some non-drafting events and may find himself solo off the front. The chase group with the favourites Elvery and Van Barneveld (NZL) along with Sharp (GBR) may not be overly concerned with Amberger (AUS), but can't afford to give him more than 2' I would imagine.

Nicholls (GBR) is perhaps the best runner in the field at the moment. He will struggle to make the chase, but if memory serves me correctly in a similar style of race in Strathclyde last year he rode his way from group to group and then unleashed a strong run for the win. He could follow a similar result if the chase is not motivated and/or organized.

On the run, Sharp (GBR) is coming off a solid race at the Edmonton WC. He along with teammate Harris (GBR) should be at the front out of T2 along with the kiwi's.

I feel we see Sharp (GBR) grab his first big W and have Van Barneveld (NZL) and Harris (GBR) rounding the podium.

Darkhorse: Bailie (AUS)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Jiayuguan CC - July 16th

Startlist can be found here

Very shallow field here for this Asian Cup, which is surprising given the increase in quality at these types of events this year and the Premium prize purse on the line. Startlist dominated with Chinese athletes who will look for a home field victory.

Only the #1 seed, Zhao (CHN) has had some good ITU experience. There does not seem to be a strong swimmer in the field that sticks out, however lurking down there in the lower ranks has to be a hidden gem. Someone ranked below 15 to lead out.

From previous years of results at the event the bike/run routes seem standard, nothing too demanding.

Hard to pick anyone here besides the #1 seed Zhao for the win with 2 teammates taking 2nd and 3rd for the homeland sweep.

Not very exciting, I know!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Kupiskis CC Baltic Champs - July 16th

Startlist can be found here

Well with one guy on the starting list this one is a pretty easy call, Vasilevich (BLR) for the win accross the board!

Hamburg WCS - July 16

Startlist can be found here

A slight reduction in the calibre of a WCS field will give opportunity to perhaps the first non gomez/brownlee winner in the series since Frodeno's sprint in Seoul of 2010.

With this race being three weeks out from many federations Olympic qualification in London we may see a surprise here with some stronger athletes 'training through' this weekend while others may have tapered.

Swim wise the water temp is hovering around wetsuit conditions. It will be a race day decision but I would lean towards wetsuits being worn. Even though he was outsed last weekend for the swim prime in Edmonton, Varga (SVK) is still the favourite to lead into T1.

With the weather forcast calling for overcast and possible rain, the technical bike could become even more so. Combined with a Specialized bike prime every lap and there could be a lot of 'out of the saddle action' taking place. A small group may get away from the pack, that will be quite large, in the later stages, but no one of significance for the run.

Cold conditions seem to suit Gomez quite well for running (Vancouver'08,Sydney'11) so he will be hard to beat. Clarke (GBR) has shown good form as of late but may have been racing a bit too much to have a proper crack at this podium.

I feel we see Riederer (SUI) take his first WCS victory with Gomez in second and a crowd pleasing upset of Zipf (GER) taking bronze.

Darkhorse: Jones (CAN)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Kokshetau CC - July 10th

Startlist can be found here

A small field for this Asian Cup. Not a lot of power in the water here, swim should not be a deciding factor in this one. Fanous (JOR) with the leadout.

We should see a lead group of 5-7 in this one with all the contenders present. Yakovlev (RUS) will be the only major threat that could not make it.

Starting the 10k together we should see 3 athletes: Gaag (KAZ), Smurov (KAZ), Pevtsov (UKR) battle it out and finish in that order.

Darkhorse: Yakovlev (RUS)

Edmonton WC - July 10th

Startlist can be found here

With a tight congested swim course there is the potential to have it string out around the cans. Without a doubt Varga (SVK) will lead out.

If it is a long string out of the water it only takes one weak link to make a break. With the bike have a significant hill within the first kilometer the first lap will be crucial for pack formation. If the forecast of rain (heavy at times) plays out then we may see some of the more technical savy riders such as McMahon (CAN) use the weather to their advantage.

With a tough bike comes a tough run as well. The strong athletes will come thru on a course as this and I think we see the experienced legs of Kemper (USA), Whitfield (CAN), and Docherty (NZL) reach the podium.

Darkhorse: Jones (CAN)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Holten CC - July 9th

Startlist can be found here

This swim doesn't seem to have a stand out swimmer that is a secure bet on leading out. The nod has to go to either Zachaeus (GER) or Dallenbach (SUI).

There are enough athletes here that are not 'great' swimmers but strong bike/runners that I sense a large pack forming on this ride. The course though is hilly enough to get some action going, most likely from the homeland athletes.

No one with a threatening run will be let off the leash though and all the major contenders should start the 10k together.

Accross the line we see Loeschke (GER), Malyshev (RUS), Syutkin (UKR) 1-2-3.

Darkhorse: Naranjo Vichot (ESP)

San Francisco CC - July 9th

Startlist can be found here

Wetsuit ocean swim to start things off for this one. Two loops staying in the water will favour the stronger swimmers, however a circus show in water start will not. Strong start speed and a opening 200m can go a long way for positioning in this swim.

We should definitely see separation here in the water. McClarty (USA) to lead out with a group of others on or just behind his feet depending on how much backstroke he decides on doing. Other notables at the front of that group could include Chancon (CRC), McCartney (CAN), Bird (CAN), and Darling (USA).

Although this bike is flat it hosts technical, rough and windy conditions. Definite out of sight out of mind tactics will look to be played in the early stages. Chacon (CRC), Bird (CAN), Barclay (NZL) and Brown (USA) will push the gorup early to try and make it as select as possible and distance themselves from some of the strong chasing runners [ Hinton (CAN), Collington (USA), Huerta (USA)??]

If Huerta (USA) can make this front group then it should be a good duel between him and training partner Chacon (CRC) over the final 10k run. Depending on the gap to the chase I think we see our 3rd place finisher also coming out from the lead group in Brown (USA), fresh off a title in Coteau du Lac.

Darkhorse: Hinton (CAN), Bird (CAN), Long (USA)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Maputo African Championships - July 3rd

Startlist can be found here

In a very small field of just eleven this championships is important for many of its athletes. Not just for continental hierarchy, many of these top ranked athletes are on the cusp for making WCS lists. A strong result here can go along way to getting onto that elusive London startlist next week.

The swim in this event is easily the most important aspect. Weber (RSA) is the strongest swimmer in the field and should lead out with five or six others. Whether it is five or six is crucial to the outcome. Murray (RSA) will be stretched to make the group. The others will definitely be looking to get rid of him by 1500m.

If Murray does not make the bike pack his race is over. If he does make it then expect him to win. His race can essentially be viewed as a 1500m swim.

In a smaller bike group we could see some tactics play out.

I see the race coming down to 10k without Murray in the picture. Gold to Eksteen (RSA), silver to Wolfhardt (RSA), bronze to De Villiers (RSA).

Darkhorse: Essadiq (MAR)

Penza CC - July 3rd

Startlist can be found here

For the first time in almost 20 years Russia will host an ITU event this weekend in Penza. Every season Penza serves as the Russian Championships. It is nice to see that besides the Vasilev brothers, the race hosts all of the strong Russian athletes.

Swim wise you've got 3 or 4 regular WCS lead out guys. I think in this race we see the younger, with something to prove, I.Polyansky (RUS) hitting shore first. In a smaller field race such as this there is more opportunity for a break to form in the swim.

I think we see a group of 4 or 5 out of the water push the early stages of the bike and get away. Chuchko (RUS) and Sapunov (UKR) should lead the chase pack but not have enough mustard to reel the leaders back in.

Onto the run it should be a duel between D.Polyansky and Brukhankov (RUS) that will be a very interesting tilt. Give the edge to Brukhankov (RUS) who should have fresher legs from a strong ride. Third place, sealing a Rushka sweep to Turbaevskiy.

Darkhorse: Yakovlev (RUS) , Martynenko

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pontevedra Euro Champs - June 26th

Startlist here

A WCS calibre startlist, these Euro Champs will be hosted in Pontevedra, the training grounds of Gomez (ESP) on the NW coast of Spain.

As a side note, last year Gomez dominated the field as a CC leading wire to wire (solo bike). Winning by three minutes over worthy opponents such as Mola (ESP) and Zipf (GER) put the locals into a frenzy. This field is quite a bit different however and heroics such as these will not be taking place.

This Euro Champs will not boast a 'Country Spot' for the victor. That will come next spring in Eliat, Israel. As a result we may not see a lot of 'team strategy' unfolding. However, a dry rehersal for London couldn't hurt. Teams strong enough to do so include: FRA, GBR,RUS, and POR. Russia, Portugal, and/or France forming a coalition to beat the B Boys and Gomez? There is always a chance.

Like a standard WCS event this swim should be lead out by a Russian or Frenchman with essentially all the main players in the front group.

Madrid strategy may be deployed again here with a leg shattering T1 and first 5k on the bike. All main players will be there however and within this group the attacks will be minimal. Many of these athletes raced last weekend on a cold Kitzbuhel course and will be looking to leave it to the run.

Gomez (ESP), J.Brownlee (GBR), Belaubre (FRA) and Silva (POR) are the main players who have targeted this race more than the others. Their legs should be more ready for the blistering 10k that will be unleashed.

In an upset we see Silva (POR) take the win with Gomez(ESP) and one of the B Boys (GBR) grabbing silver and bronze.

Darkhorse: Buchholz (GER)

Monroe CC - June 26th

Startlist here

This race features a swimmers field with many top ITU swimmers listed. Late addition Kemper (USA) throws a different perspective into the mix as well.
Similar to what happened with the 'Whitfield' factor at San Francisco CC 2009, many athletes will try to do as Kemper does for as long as possible.

Wetsuits are probable with air temperatures cooling down overnight and daytime highs in the teens. Wetsuits will favour strength swimmers and this field has many. Still, expect McLarty (USA) to lead out with Darling (USA), Zarferes (USA) and McCartney (CAN) close to follow.

Depending on where Kemper (USA) is out of the water, T2 and a clean wetsuit removal may be critical to make that train. Expect Kemper (USA) to be looking for a 'good workout' across the board, so a solid bike from the get-go should be anticipated. Collins (USA), Sexton (USA), Bird (CAN), Russell (CAN), Fleischmann (USA) and others will also be looking to establish a select front group to maximize the potential for a good result.

A course with 3x180's per lap will offer quite a lot of surging. Athletes who can tolerate wattage spikes best will benefit come the run.

No one will challenge Kemper (USA) for the win. The other two podium steps will be closely contested though. Sexton (USA), Collins (USA), McCartney (CAN), Russell (CAN) should scrap it out for those spots.

Darkhorses: Bird (CAN), Long (USA)

Burabay CC - June 26th

Startlist here

With two Asian Cups on the same weekend this field has been significantly. Still, the race should have a competitive top 10.

D. Vasiliev (RUS) no doubt leads this out. Will he have anyone on his feet? Perhaps Malyshev but his poor form in Madrid leaves this questionable.

If so the two could get away on the hilly bike and perhaps have a sizeable lead into T2. The two will be heavily motivated to do this as Malyshev has been on the short end of the stick for getting into a number of big races this year. He has the World Ranking to do so, but not within his country (8th or 9th ranked Russian). Vasiliev is looking to find the form he had in Ishigaki a year ago and will undoubtly lay it down on the front end of the bike.

The Russian duo's biggest threats will be Gaag (KAZ) and Pevtsov (UKR). Their inconsistent swims will be the key to their races.

Malyshev (RUS) takes this if the Russian's Roll into T2 with a gap, otherwise Pevtsov (UKR) will.

Darkhorses: Smurov (KAZ), Ivanov (UKR)

Coteau CC - June 26th

Startlist here

Just outside Montreal ,QC lies Coteau du Lac nestled between the north shore of the St. Lawrence and the CDL canal. Boderline wetsuit temperatures with a flat out and back bike/run. Previous years at the event have had the 10k run determining the victor.

A fast yet choatic swim start will favour those with great start speed and/or pontoon position. This being said we should see either Cuevas (DOM) or Sharpe (CAN) lead out of the canal.

With a smaller field than usual the potential for a bike break is higher here but I think we still see a pack of 15-20 men roll into T2.

There is no doubt that the run will go out quick with a lot of young Canadians looking to make their mark here. There are a few first year Canadian U23's here who have posted strong recent open runs, Reid (CAN) and Hinton (CAN). If they can reproduce these showings off the bike they should be in the mix.

Once the pace settles out we should see some experience in Baillargeon Smith(CAN), Yorke (CAN), Brown (USA) and Phillips (CAN) gradually turn the screws.

Coming down to a sprint I feel we see Baillargeon Smith(CAN) take the win with Wilson (BAR) and Yorke (CAN) rounding the podium.

Darkhorse: Hamelin (CAN), Reid (CAN), Hinton (CAN)

Gamagori CC - June 26th

Startlist here

Revisiting the '05 World Champs course, Gamagori boasts warm but very humid conditions. Combine the warm water venue with a technical bike and we certainly will see the athletes tested.

Look for Shaw (IRL), Hirano (JPN), Vandam (USA) or Heo (KOR) to leading the charge out of the harbour waters. The swim pace may not be as quick due to warm water temps which I feel will lead to front pack with all the contenders present.

The bike should not throw anything unusual at us. Forcast is for high 20's and a 50% chance of percip. If the rain becomes heavy then we may see some advantage play into the well trained technical riders.

On the run we have several runners of similar pedigree. The two top seeds in Hosada and Yamamoto (JPN) have perhaps the best leg speed, however they will be traveling back home from racing in Kitzbuhel last weekend and may not have their familiar form.

Heo (KOR) will have the better legs on the day and take the W. Sato (JPN) will upset his countrymen for 2nd and Hosada or Yamamoto (JPN) with round out the podium.

Darkhorse: Shaw (IRL)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Kitzbuhel WCS - June 18th

Startlist here

Raphael will look for revenge on Polyansky for Madrid and will take this one out of the water. Playing better swim tactics will be required.

No getting away on the bike in this one. Big group with over half the field will roll around the course. After seeing the damage put in on this bike course last year, the attacks will all be covered early on. Sorry, no Macca heroics here, although he will definitely try. Perhaps on the last lap some adventurous types may try to get a clean T2 with 10'' or so.

This run will depend a bit on the race day conditions which call for a 60% chance on rain. Either way Brownlee (GBR) barring any mishaps....penalties perhaps...should bag his second WCS victory. Hauss (FRA) will sprint with Justus (GER) and Mola (ESP) for 2nd and 3rd with Mola (ESP) being the unfortunate one just off the podium.

Darkhorses: Wild (SUI) & Buchholz (GER)

Guatape CC / Caribean Champs - June 19th

Startlist here

This race hosts some interesting features to it. A tough hilly bike and run combined with an elevation of over 6200ft could really play into the hands of athletes who are acclimated.

Gonzalez (CUB) should lead the swim out with Collins and Vandam (USA) on his feet. The three could have a gap out of the water and will look for some other strong cyclist to bridge up over the opening laps of the bike. Quinchara and Perciado (COL) as well as Garza (MEX) could be athletes who play this tactic.

The chase will be a large pack but could become splintered if athletes start to attack over the hills.

Into T2 I feel the lead group should have 90+ seconds on the chase.

On the run look for Quinchara (COL) to get away early and have Collins (USA) and Perciado (COL) round out the podium.

With this doubling as a World Cup in November, it will be interesting to see the race unfolds.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Cremona CC (sprint) - June 12th

Startlist here

Very tough one to call. Being a sprint race and a consistent, deep field this one will be close.

Any one of the following could lead out the swim: Zacheaus (GER), Le Corre (FRA), Pujades (FRA), Barrie (AUS), Salvisberg (SUI), Sharpe (CAN)....I'll go with Le Corre.

The field is so large (almost 80) that I don't think we see anything special on the bike. It will be bloody hard but everyone will be up to the challenge and cover the attacks.

T2 will be crucial in a race like this and those in first and clean will have at least 15s on the back of the packer. Over 5k thats lights out. With that in mind i think we see the experience of Unger (GER) win his first race since '08 and two Oceania athletes taking 2nd and 3rd.

Darkhorse: Kerr (AUS)

Cartagena CC / Ibero Champs - June 12th

Startlist here

A small group will come out of the water most likely led by Mejia and followed by Collins (USA) Gonzalez (CUB) and Fernandes (BRA).

Most likely a 20-30s gap onto the bike, but it will not remain with the likes of homeboys Quinchara and Preciado (COL), Vande Wyngard (CHI), and Carvalho (BRA) pulling the chase.

A biggish group into T2 turns it into a 10k with Quinchara taking the W and Garza (MEX) and Perez (ESP) taking the other two podium steps.

Darkhorse: Jefferson (USA)

Weihai CC - June 11th

Startlist here

No stand out swimmer in this field will put an importance on a strong swimmer to force the pace in the water. If this can be done i think we see a small group again, as in Amakusa last week, perhaps of only 4 (McMahon,Jones,Noble,Chuchko).

Jones (CAN) will be looking for his third straight CC win in as many weeks. Threats will come from the already mentioned front groupers as well as the two South Africans in De Villiers and Eksteen and the never say die Gaag (KAZ).

This podium is tough to call but i'll go with the three medalist all coming from different continents.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Amakusa CC - June 5th

Startlist here

Unless a Japanese athlete who I am unaware of (help anyone?) takes the swim reigns, i think we see Shaw (IRL) giving Triathlon Ireland some eye candy with the lead out.

On the bike, Canadians (McMahon and Jones) together with Alterman (ISR) and others will like to and should get away from the chase mob which will hold some dangerous run threats in Good (AUS), Hosoda (JPN) and Robins (AUS).

Fresh off a win in Ixtapa last week Jones (CAN) will look to put things away early on the run. If they can separate themselves from the aforementioned (more rested and less traveled) athletes after the bike, I feel Jones and McMahon (CAN) will take the top two spots.

Madrid WCS - June 4th

Start list here

Regarded as the toughest WCS event, Madrid will provide quite a good show come Saturday. With a lot of top athletes (Frodeno, Kahlefeldt, Whitfield etc.) having higher than normal start numbers, the potential to have a motivated break out of the water and on to the hilly 8 lap bike will be higher than usual. The Blue/white/red uniforms (FRA, RUS) should litter the front of the swim. With my pick of Aurelien (FRA) leading out as a pre-rehersal for some team tactics at next weeks Euros.

If a group like last year can form on the bike right away I think we will see it stick this year, and carry a 45-60'' gap into T2.

Those in the lead group with strong legs may be able to minimize being 'run thru' from the chase while the others in there may be seeing more names and countries going by than they would like.

In the past 7 years of the Madrid WC/WCS event the only non-euro to medal has been Atkinson (09 and 10). What does this say? It may say that the euros pay more attention to the bike than others, leaving them fresher come T2? Perhaps it also can be attributed to it being the first Euro WC/WCS each season causing 'outsiders' to carry some jet-lag into it?

Either way I think we see the same result of Euros on the podium with the most likely candidate to play spoiler being Sexton (AUS).

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Brasschaat CC - May 29th

start list here here

Expect a small lead group out of the swim lead by Varga (SVK) and including Luis (FRA), Le Corre (FRA) and perhaps Salvisberg (SUI).

Onto the flat bike this group will likely not have the fire power required to stay away from the large motivated (30+) group chasing from 45''ish behind. Rouault's (FRA) position out of the swim will directly affect this main packs motivation at the early bike stages. Once the group catches the leaders, expect some attacks before T2 with perhaps a break including some native belgians wanting to please the crowd.

If Rouault(FRA) can make the group, this should be his or Luis (FRA) race to win. Strong results from Unger and Loeschke (GER), McNamee (GBR), and a dark horses in Aernouts (BEL) Diemunsch (FRA) could also play out on the podium steps.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ixtapa CC - May 28th

View Startlist here

The race will begin with a swimmers swim entering from a beach start into significant surf and choppy water past the break. Expect Meija (MEX) and Stewart (CAN) to lead the 1 loop swim and exit with perhaps a small gap on the main group likely containing 10-15 guys. The largest pack will be a bit further behind that, perhaps 30s. The swim exit will be important and could make up lost time in the swim if a timely wave is caught and a strong runout to the 500m T2 is made.

Onto the bike the field boasts some decent riders. Depending on their swims Croes (BEL), Serrano (MEX) and Garza (MEX) will either be leading the charge of the main with a few Canadians (McMahon, Jones, Bird) or closing the chase gap. The course is a two lap affair with rolling, bumpy terrain. If the lead group can get out of site quickly the potential for a sizeable gap into T2 is favourable as in past years.

The 4 lap run will bring hot conditions, but with shade. The running capabilities in the race are fairly even with the edge going to Huerta (USA) in the expected weather. Huerta's (USA) position off the bike is uncertain and adds another dimension to the races tactics and strategy that will unfold.

The podium looks to have a multi-nation flavor to it with an American,Mexican, and Canadian taking the hardware in any order.


Each Wednesday/Thursday when ITU startlists are released, this site will provide a small preview of each event leading into the weekend.

From Continental Cups to WCS this site will hopefully provide the followers, fans and perhaps even athletes of the ITU with some pre-race insight of what they can expect to see unfold each weekend.

Although I would like to eventually cover both Men and Women I feel at this time that I do not have a deep enough understanding of the female athletes and their tendencies to provide a strong enough opinion. So that door is open, apply within.

Comments with additional information, or correction of mine:), is encouraged. I hope to start up some pre-race banter and enthusiasm for all!