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