Saturday, 21 January 2012

Vina Del Mar CC - Jan 22


Startlist can found here

First Continental Cup of 2012 hosts a fairly competitive field of athletes from 3 continents. All will be looking to get an early start on ITU pts.

Ocean wetsuit swim with minor chop should result in a main pack emerging together out of the water. With a wetsuit on, Varga (SVK) seems to even swim faster relative to the field as seen in Kitzbuhel and Hamburg. Leading this one out will not be a question, with Farias (ARG), and Collins (USA) on the heels. This group of 3 with perhaps a few others ( Saucedo and Meija [MEX] ) could carry a decent gap onto the bike

This small break group should be off the front for a bit but with motivated 'fresh' euros in the chase things should become conglomerated. Athletes will need to acute to hazards on the bike. Stray dogs, deraileur sucking bags, and holes will add to the randomness of a South American race.

Off the bike the field should be tight for the first lap. After 3k I think we see the euros [Fidalgo,Alarza (ESP) and Nichols (GBR)] push ahead.

Euro Sweep:

Nichols, Fidalgo, Alarza

Darkhorse:Taccone (ARG)
New Flag Watch: Varga (EURO), Vande and Quinchara (PATCO)


Startlist can be found here

Coming off a big win in La Paz to start the 2012 campaign, Brault (CAN) will be the heavy favourite to make it back to back wins on her South American Tour.

Out of the water Rivas (MEX) and Oliveria (BRA) should get a gap on the others. 30s I'd imagine will be the margin onto the bikes.

A motivated chase will swallow them up though, and the contenders will come into T2 together.

Brault should distance herself early on the run while Widney (CAN), ITU team athlete Bravo (ECU), Sato (JPN) and Rivas battle for the final podium spots.


Darkhorse:Routier (ESP)

New Flag Watch: Bravo, Palacio Balena (ARG)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

La Paz Pan-Am Champs - Jan 15

Early start to 2012 and it comes with an important Olympic point race for Pan-American athletes. Four hundred points are on the line and a jumpstart to the season rankings. Even with the event being held in possibly the most obscure spot in the Americas we see fairly good fields for men and women. Weather for the race is somewhat unpredictable, extreme heat or this.


Startlist can be found here.

With the swim being held in a river with significant current the swim could be tactical in the sense of finding the right feed. With experience and hometown support expect Farias (ARG) to lead out of the water. The field has some solid Pan-am swim athletes. This could promote a split or perhaps not as gaps that would be there with a smaller field are being filled. I'd expect a group of 12-14 in the front with just a few contenders left out.

This group will watch its lead grow on the bike with McMahon (CAN), Chacon (CRC), Collins (USA) and Garza (MEX) leading the group through the technical course. With a comfortable gap, I dont see many games being played over the 40k, but if the four aforementioned athletes can put something together, it could be dangerous.

More than likely the run will be a scorcher. Similar to the Pan-Am Games 3 months ago I think we see a similar group of 3-4 athletes together through 5k. Being a first test for 2012 there may be some fliers that have tooken an earlier break and have a headstart on some fitness.

On the podium I think we see Grajales (MEX), Jones (CAN) and Quinchara (COL) in that order.

Wildcard: Butterfield (BER), Verzbicas (USA)


New for this year, I will have a go at the womens fields. Can't promise a whole lot but will give it my best.

In La Paz we see quite a few athletes coming back onto the scene from disappointments in 2011. It will be an important start to a race filled first half of 2012 towards Olympic qualification.

Out of the swim there is no doubt that Pan-Am bronze medalist Oliveira (BRA) will lead the race. Most likely she will be with Duffy (BER) and perhaps Rivas (MEX). A gap of about 20-30s will have formed back to the main pack of 8. Anyone not in this group will either committ suicide on the bike or be out of contention.

It will be interesting to see how the main works together to reel in Oliveira and co. at the start of the ride. If the gap isn't shut down early it wont happen later on and we could see it grow. I feel it will come back with some work and a group of 10-12 come into T2 together.

Over the 10k, smart pacing is key. I feel we see a North American sweep of the podium:

Shiver (USA), Campbell (CAN), Brault (CAN)

Wildcard: Widney (CAN)