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

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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).