Startlist can be found here
As Atkinson just mentioned in the press conference, this is the deepest Mooloolaba race ever. Surprising, a lot of pre-qualified Olympic athletes will race alongside a whole wack of others looking to impress selectors. With 8 of the top 10 within the top 20 ITU pts rankings this race will offer a extra 80 pts, 580, for the winner.
The easy pick out of the water is Varga (SVK), next is Seear (AUS), but with the surf and luck of wave catching lets go Hauss (FRA) to lead out.
The last three years we have seen a break in this race. Two of the three have been right out of T2 with Seear and Atkinson (AUS) being familar faces there. Expect Seear to lay out the same blueprint this time around over this hilly bike. Atkinson's swim doesn't seem to be at that same level in years past to accompany Jimmy this time around, look for a McMahon (CAN), Petzold (GER), Hayes (GBR) and/or Collins (USA) to join early.
As the bike unfolds there will be three important groups. Our lead, smallish bunch, main group and chase. The main group will house most of the favourites while the chase will contain some strong ride/runners looking to bridge. The main will need to stay motivated to hold off athletes like Butterfield (BER), McCormack (AUS), Nicholls (GBR) and some Argentians.
I see the main group holding off the chase all be it but a few strong riders who jump accross and bringing back the break by 20k. Too many points and countries chasing 3 spots to have a gap off the bike.
Again with the hills on the run, a suitable race for athletes with a collection of strength-endurance miles over the winter.
Quite a tough call here, i'm going with the top ranked 3 in that order:
Hauss, Vidal, Kahlefeldt
New Flag Watch: Tellechea, Taccone, Butterfield [PATCO] Van Berkel, Jaskolka, Varga [EURO] Heo [ASIA]
Darkhorses: Nicholls (GBR), Van Ort (USA), Box (AUS)
Startlist can be found here
Like the men, the womens race is laiden with pedigree so early in the season. Headlining the field is world #2 Hewitt along with fan fav Moffatt (AUS).
Moffatt has a good hold on this swim course as years previous have shown. Bennett (USA) also does well in these conditions and could challenge Moffy for the leadout along with Lang (GBR). Take the experience in Moffatt to lead out and gap the field on the beach run to the bikes.
Moffatt, with nothing to lose in this race will drill the bike early. I see a small group forming around her of strong riders able to tranny well and hold high 3' power. Names likely to be amongst this bunch include Hewitt, Bennett, Lang, Mcllory (NZL), Oliveira (BRA) and Blatchford (GBR).
I think its lights out for the podium if this happens. Although never count out a motivated Swiss duo of Spirig/Ryf looking for 3 country spots and Norden (SWE) to lead the chase up. A gamble but i see the break sticking and holding 45'' into T2.
Out onto the run things will seperate in the front group quickly with Hewitt, Mcllory and Moffatt leading away.
Over the hills I see the two kiwis slowly pulling away from Moffatt.
Podium as: Hewitt, Mcllory, Moffatt
New flag watch: Palacio Balena [PATCO] Fintova, Czesnik, Simic [EURO]
Darkhorse: Klamer (NED), Campbell (CAN)