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.