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USA Triathlon recently gave several journalists a peak into Laura Bennett’s and Jarrod Shoemaker’s preparations for the ITU World Championship Series Grand Final in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 11-12.
Written by: Courtney Baird
The athletes—currently the top ranked Americans on the ITU circuit—are living in Europe, with Shoemaker having been there since early July.
“I feel like I’m doing pretty good training-wise,” said Shoemaker, who is currently ranked seventh in the world, said. “It’s still a little tough adjusting to not being at home and not knowing the training environment.”
Shoemaker just came off an eighth place finish at the first-ever ITU Elite Sprint Triathlon World Championship in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month.
Bennett, currently world No. 11, skipped out on the sprint championships after she came down with an illness just before the race.
Both athletes are expecting the race in Budapest to come down to the run, although neither of them has checked out the course yet.
Shoemaker believes that guys to beat in Budapest will be Germany’s Jan Frodeno, Javier Gomez of Spain, and Britain’s Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and Tim Don.
“The cool thing is I can run with them,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker plans on practicing his transitions in a big grass field to help set himself up to run with the front pack after T2.
As in 2009, this year’s world champion will be decided by who has the most points at the end of the Grand Final, with points having been up for grabs at every WCS event. The first place finishers at the Grand Final will each be awarded 1200 points.
Currently, Frodeno sits atop the rankings, but Gomez is only 231 points behind.
The women’s race is a little less predictable, with any number of girls being capable of pulling off the individual win and several in line for the overall title.
“I think that it has been pretty cool that we have had quite a few winners this year,” Bennett said.
Likely podium finishers include Emma Moffatt of Australia, Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand and Lisa Norden of Sweden, who are currently ranked No. 1 through No. 3, respectively.
Bennet also has a shot at the podium.
In terms of overall contenders, Moffatt leads Hewitt by only 52 points, and Norden, Helen Jenkins of Britain and Nicola Spirig of Switzerland are all potential world champions.
Baird is a senior editor of Inside Triathlon magazine.