Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Clermont CC - March 3


Startlist can be found here

Strong field here again for Clermont as the first race in N.America takes off for 2012. Headliners for this field include Jones (CAN), Shoemaker (USA), Hosada (JPN), Bowden (GBR), and Kerr (AUS). For Jones and Shoemaker the tilt is going off in their backyard, an advantage for sure over international travel and athletes coming off a hard/hot race in Lima last wkd.

Unfortunately the swim for this one is not really a swim. More like a water run with 300m of kiddie pool / waterpolo tactics. Like last year swim will be a large group led by a strong swimmer with athletic entry/exit skills. Take beachboy Wilson (BAR) on this one.

With a tight, narrow bike route the pack will get strung out quite long over the 20k but should stay together with enough athletes to fill and cover any gaps that should form.

5k will decide this if not a quick and smooth T2. On the run the pace should be layed out pretty hot by Hosada. It really is a tough call for this podium but I see it as:

Nicholls (GBR), Shoemaker (USA), Jones (CAN)

Darkhorse: Yorke (CAN), VanOrt (USA)
New Flag Watch: Wilson (BAR), Quinchara (COL)[PATCO]


Startlist can be found here

Another strong field of women here for Clermont. International talent combined with strong CAN/USA athletes should make for a very exciting race.

Unlike the men's race though this one may have some seperation out of the water. McClarty and Haskins (USA) will surely look to break this field up with runners such as Jorgensen (USA), Campbell (CAN) and Ueda (JPN) to deal with.

Out of the water we could see a smallish group of 5 or 6 with the aforementioned Americans, Kaye (USA), Lang (GBR), Harrison (FRA) and a few others redlining to make this break.

McClarty will lead us up to T1 where Haskins may look to jump on with McClarty for a two-horse show to get out of town. Really there is a lot of different dynamics that could go on with this one with strong riders such as Sweetland (CAN) and Peon (FRA) perhaps dragging a few others up.

I would see this bike forming two groups initially. The front dozen or so and a larger chase of 15. But by 20k we should see a merge and a large group of women coming off at T2 for the 5k run.

Over the 5k Jorgensen should prove to be strongest while the other podium spots will be tightly contested.

Take the podium as: Jorgensen (USA), Peon (FRA), Campbell (CAN)

Darkhorse: Vodickova (CZE), Widney (CAN)
New Flag Watch: None

Salinas CC - Mar 4

Mens Startlist can be found here

The second of a South American double dip goes this Saturday in the beach town of Salinas, Ecuador. With most of the field coming off a tough race in Lima just 6 days ago the door could be open for some athletes targeting this race specifically.

Look for Gonzalez (CUB) to lead this swim out with Farias (ARG) right on his heels. With Argentina holding the PATCO New Flag Olympic spot, Farias might be issued in here for some team tactics. With his Compatriots running quite well at the moment while having weaker swims he may be looking to slow the front group up early on in the bike. Members of the group like Toft (DEN), Gonzalez, Wiltshire (GBR) will need to be assertive to keep the pace hot and rolling to fend on the trio of Tellechea, Taccone and Nogueras (ARG).

The front group initially should be about 10 players. As mentioned, some may not be willing to work at all so it could possibly be a 8 man machine. I do see this group staying away from the chase pack and rolling into T2 with a minute to 90s.

The hot and humid conditions will once again be a decider in this race. Having run well here in previous years, Alterman (ISR) may be one to watch for over the 10k.

On the podium we have:

Billington (USA), Alterman (ISR), Gonzalez (CUB)

Darkhorse: Sato (JPN)

New Flag Watch: Argentinians, Van de Wyngard, Gonzalez (CUB) [PATCO] Toft (DEN) [EURO]


Startlist can be found here

With three of the four British girls carrying over from Lima, expect the same contingent to press the field here in Salinas. Missing however is Lang (GBR) who will sorely be missed driving the bike group over the 40k. Home country athlete Bravo (ECU) will be looking to please the fans with a win here, but it will certainly be a tough task.

Lucy Hall (GBR) will once again toy with the field in this swim over 1500m. With the hot conditions she might be wise to keep the pace high enough to string it out and create gaps but keep her core temp as low as possible to start the bike.

Out of the water Hall will either have a gap or 2 to 3 athletes with depending on the effort she decides to put down. In this group should be Thorrington and Raw (GBR) with a wildcard of Youth Olympic Champ, Sato (JPN).

Whether Sato can make the front group will be key to the outcome. The chase will include Bravo and Palacio Balena (ARG). With the numbers quite low in this field that unfortunately will be it. The second chase will be larger and perhaps bridge up but be unable to catch our leaders over the 40k.

I think we see Sato make the front group and come off with the British girls for the 10k. She will then lay down the fastest run and take this race.

Podium: Sato (JPN), Raw (GBR), Hall (GBR)

Darkhorse: Jiao (CHN)
New Flag Watch: Bravo (ECU), Palacio Balena (ARG) [PATCO]

Friday, 24 February 2012

Lima CC - Feb 26


Startlist can be found here

To quote last years champ here, JVB, "I was about to ride my bike to the race when the hotel told me 'Oh no, you need to take a cab'...'' Don't worry, if you've raced in Monterrey you've been exposed to worse:)

Attention shifts to Lima for the early season points race. This field has a host of athletes fighting for the PATCO New Flag along with a strong British presence including current U23 world champ, Matt Sharp (GBR).

Late entry Ben Collins (USA) will be looking to push this swim alongside Wiltshire (GBR) and Toft (DEN). Take Harry to lead this one for the Union Jack.

These aforementioned boys should be closely followed by perhaps up to 8 others. This group will look to keep, and grow the gap to the chase which will likely contain some fast Argentinian feet. Buckingham (GBR) is a slight wild card here as his swim may be borderline to make the front group but he may be the best runner off the bike in the field. With some fasttwitch racing under his belt at Brazil FAST I think he should be good to go here.

The bike course here looks to be revamp from the fiasco of last years city circuit which contained speed bump after speed bump. The new route looks to include some hills so an honest effort on the bike should unfold. On a course such as that Harris (GBR) could be dangerous. Expect the Brits to work this bike....trickle down effect from the BBoys.

Off the bike I think we have a group of 10-12ish that will contend for the medals. Bit rich but I gotta go with a British sweep with the following on the podium:

Buckingham (GBR), Bowden (GBR), Harris (GBR)

New Flag Watch: Tellechea (ARG), Wilson (BAR), Van de Wyngard (CHI), Taccone (ARG) [PATCO] Toft (DEN) [EURO]

Wildcard: Gunby (GBR), Rendes (HUN)


Startlist can be found here

As with the Mens field, this Womens is also full of British talent. An interesting aspect to look at within the Brit Camp here is a battle between potential Jenkins domestiques. You have three athletes here who swim world class and two who can ride your legs off. Lang, Thorrington, and Hall (GBR) all will look to play their game and show selectors their strengths.

In the water, Hall has shown her swimming ability can break a part a WCS field. Here she will be playing with the field as she leads us into T1.

Lang and Thorrington will be with her or just behind while other contenders such as Raw (GBR) and Bravo (ECU) may find themselves just off the train.

On the bike Lang will drive this thing hard early on receiving some help from Thorrington. Hall will do well to hang in if she can. I feel this duo/trio will work well together and distance themselves from the chase of Raw, Bravo and Co.

Into T2 the Brits should have a comfortable lead of 90''. On the run it the heat may begin to take its toll on them for the effort exerted on the bike. I still see them holding off most of the chase with the following podium:

Lang, Thorrington, Raw [Yes, another British Sweep!]

New Flag Watch: Bravo, Palacio Balena (ARG) [PATCO]
Darkhorse: Pedersen (DEN), Zhang (CHN)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Cape Town Sprint CC - Feb 19

Mens startlist can be found here

First African Cup goes this weekend in Cape Town doubling up as the RSA champs. A great field is assembled, deepest to be seen in Africa for some time with 16 different nations on the line.

Tim Don headlines the field having set up camp in RSA for the winter. Other pre-race favourites include: Unger (GER) fresh off a debut win in Barbados last weekend and home national Murray (RSA) who finished 2011 with a silver performance in Huatulco WC.

The swim looks to be a point to point affair and I'd assume it likely to be wetsuit legal. Some chop should be expected. With this type of field and conditions we'll likely see a fairly large group come out of the ocean with Schoeman (RSA) at the helm.

The bike is as simple as an out and back flat lap can be. Perhaps some cross winds coming off the water could mix the group up a bit here. We have a few strong riders as well in Tissink (RSA), Louw (NAM), Croes (BEL), Toft (DEN) Murray (RSA), Elvery (NZL) who may have a go at the others before the 5k.

Off the bike I think we could see a group of 3 like the aforementioned with a gap to the main group of 20-30s. Not sure if the pack would be so willing to give Murray that kind of real estate though.

On the run things will string out quickly on this technical and hilly (looks to be) course. Athletes who have addressed strength work over the winter could benefit from such a route.

At the line I feel we see the following take the hardware:
Don (GBR), Murray (RSA), Ruanova (ESP)

Darkhorse: Uccellari (ITA)
New Flag Watch: AFRICA = Louw (NAM) Felgate (ZIM) & Essadiq (MAR) // Alterman (ISR) & Croes (BEL), Toft (DEN) & Banti (MON) (EURO)


Startlist can be found here

With many European athletes making the trip down to Cape Town, this womens field has some depth to it. There are a lot of athletes from smaller Euro triathlon nations chasing the New Flag spot.

The field doesn't seem to have a standout swimmer but I'd expect the duo of friends Rabie (RSA) and Pickthall (GBR) to lead us out with De Vries (NED) and a few others.

This smallish group may be able to fend off the main group but it may depend on Frintova's (CZE) swim. If it is good then the main pack may not have the same motivation as it would be if her swim is under par.

Into T2 i see things together off the bike.

De Vries has been running well in early races. The two South Africans in the field can also run a 5k and will benefit from little travel.

I feel we see the podium as: Frintova (CZE), De Vries (NED), Fischer (RSA).

Darkhorse: Lehtonen (FIN)

New Flag Watch: Verstuyft (BEL), Lehtonen (FIN), Waldmüller (AUT) (EURO)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Bridgetown CC - Feb 12

Mens startlist can be found here

A first for Barbados in hosting an ITU event. Great to see, and hopefully the event will become a regular addition to early season racing.

Mens field is small but has a fairly strong/even top 15 athletes. We should see I.Polyankskiy (RUS) lead this non-wetty swim out with a group with or just off his feet. In that group will be Wiltshire (GBR), making his return to racing after his suspension for unsportsmanlike behaviour.

Quickly into the bike we will see our front group, and the race, form. I think we see all the main players including Nicholls (GBR) in this group. With Nicholls recent win in Vina, the others may be looking to put pressure on him over this bike.

Into T2 as a group we should see our podium potential group form right away on the run. Nicholls I'm afraid has this one bagged unless something unforseen happens. The remaining two spots should be a dog fight with many possible scenarios.

I feel we see the podium as: Nicholls, Unger (GER), Polyanskiy

Darkhorse: Lamar (USA)
New Flag Watch: Wilson (PATCO), Gaag and Fanous (ASIA)


Womens startlist can be found here

This womens field hosts a number of athletes looking to get 2012 on track and rolling. Campbell (CAN), Brault (CAN), Sweetland (CAN), Raw (GBR), and Lisk (GER) all will be looking for the podium in this one to gain more valuable ITU points towards a start in Sydney.

Out of the water Lang (GBR) will do us the honors. On her feet should be Hinton (CAN) and perhaps one other. A small gap could be next to the main group of athletes including all the contenders.

On this bike I don't see a lot going on once Lang and co. are caught. Into T2 we should a group of about 12 get ready to sort this out over the 5k run.

Quick to the front will be Brault (CAN) coming off a PATCO win and a silver in Vina. On her heels will be a group containing Campbell, Sweetland, Shiver (USA), and Bravo (ECU).

At the line we'll see a Canadian sweep with:


Darkhorse: Wassner Twins (USA)
New Flag Watch: Bravo (PATCO)

Geelong CC - Feb 12

Mens Startlist can be found here

Aussie sprint champs doubles as a Premium Oceania Cup this weekend as part of the Geelong festival. Deepest mens field of 2012 will suit up for a what should be a smokeshow w a plethora of fast-twitch athletes.

1 loop 750m non-wetsuit, no surprises here. Journeyman Varga (SVK) once again with the lead out. Richard will be looking to form a small group like last weekend in Kinloch where he had three others join him...and then leave him. Nevertheless it appears as if he has figured out what pace to put down to get some seperation but not kill strain himself. Others looking to join him up front could include Atkinson (AUS), Royle (AUS), Seear (AUS), and Dodds (NZL). However, with the depth in this field I think we see enough athletes able to fill the gaps and have a larger group (15-20) come out of T1 together.

Most, if not all the contenders should be in this front group. We may have a few chasing early to bridge up, such as a handfull of aussies - McCormick, Featonby, Good, and Bailie (AUS). I think once this boys are in the picture the group settles down a bit with some cat and mouse here and there before T2. Perhaps Atkinson, Vidal (FRA), and/or Clarke (GBR) try something just before T2 to get a clean changeover.

This should be a fast 5k. I haven't heard how Sexton (AUS) is going right about now. A little quiter than this time last year. Expect Vidal to come out guns blazing leading the group for the first lap. Near the end of the second of three loops a few surges may arise and we'll see some athletes fall off pace.

At the line in sprint finish we see...

Podium: Vidal, Huggett, Clarke

Darkhorse: Lebrun (FRA), Featonby/Kealey/Brown (AUS)
New Flag Watch: Varga, Latin (EURO)


Womens startlist can be found here

Like the men the womens startlist hosts some big hitters looking for a kickstart to their season.

We could see a some group get away in this swim if mistakes are made in the swim. Moffatt (AUS), Adam (NZL), and Blatchford (GBR) could form a small break, looking to get away from the likes of Hewitt (NZL), Gentle (AUS) and Densham (AUS).

If successfull though this group of 3 will not be able to hold off the chase which will include all of the contenders.

Off the bike we should see Moffatt take things out hard. Gentle, Hewitt, and Densham will be there though, right up to the line.

Tight one but here is the podium:


Darkhorse: Nielsen (NZL), Bailie (AUS)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Kinloch CC - Feb 5


Men Startlist can be found here

First Oceania Cup rolls around this weekend on the North Island. The Mens field looks to be quite level with a number of lower ranked Aussies having raced several times in this young season.

Richard Varga (SVK) seems to be a traveling business man at the moment. Racking up big big airmiles maybe is taking its toll on his swimming with lack of consistent miles and resorting to hotel kiddie pools.....Naw!!! Who am I trying to kid, Varga with the leadout.

Whether someone can stay on his feet is questionable. I see the front group being lead out about 10s back. Expect McMaster (ITU), Van der Stel (NED), Elvery/Davison/Gemmell/Franklin (NZL), and Aussies Royle,Kerr amongst others to be up near the front of the pack.

With this being only 750m and it having quite a broad spectrum of swimmers the field may stay together. Although, contenders like Baile and McCormick (AUS) could be off the back if the pace is held high enough.

Anyone not out of the water near the Kiwi horses can kiss this one goodbye. The aforementioned boys will surely lay the hammer down on this tough and technical bike. The advantage of a sprint bike is that there is rarely a lull which can allow a chase pack back in the show. Expect some surges on the main hill of this loop and a group to get away with the likes again of the trio Davison/Gemmell/Elvery and perhaps Van Berkel (NED) looking to Berkelize.

Off the bike I think a smallish group will have about 20s on the main bunch. However, this may not be enough to hold off some Aussies in with early season run fitness. Kerr, Kealey, and Huggett (AUS) will be chasing hard on this one.

This is quite a tough one to call as a lot of different scenarios could unfold. At the line I feel we see a bit of an upset.

Podium: Royle, Elvery, McCormack

Wildcard: Chronis and Kealey (AUS)

New Flag Watch: Varga (EURO)


Women startlist can be found here

Good womens field for this early Oceania race. Some solid swim/bike athletes should break things up considerably here.

Out of the water we should expect to see Adam (NZL) leading out the bunch with fellow kiwis, and a few dutch in tow.

With this tough bike look for Mcllroy/Tanner/Adam/Samuels (NZL) to drive this one early and get a gap from runners like Klamer and Caelers (NED), Haug (GER) and McShane (AUS).

Off the bike the small lead pack should have enough real estate to put this one away with a kiwi sweep.

Podium: Mcllroy, Tanner, Samuels

Wildcard: Caelers

New Flag Watch: None