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With the 2009 Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series complete, this Sunday’s Huatulco ITU Triathlon World Cup will count towards the 2010 standings as triathletes from across the world descend on Mexico.
The warm Pacific waters and temperate climate will come as a welcome relief for some of the competitors travelling from Europe and North America who are currently training within colder autumnal conditions. However with an ocean swim, hilly cycle course and strong competition, the event will be far from a holiday for the triathletes with last year’s winner, Kris Gemmell, describing the 2008 race as “the hardest world cup ever!”
Jarrod Shoemaker from the USA heads the men’s field with the Hamburg Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship winner looking to finish his year strongly following victory at the ITU Duathlon World Championships last month. Shoemaker finished as runner-up to Gemmell in 2009 and will be hoping to go one better, despite facing some tough competition.
Flying in from Europe are Germany’s 2007 world champion Daniel Unger and three time European champion, Frederic Belaubre from France. Both distinguished athletes struggled throughout much of the season and will be hoping to fire a warning shot across the bows of their opposition heading into the winter. Joining Belaubre is team mate Tony Moulai, another strong Frenchman with a European medal to his name.
The Russian pairing of Igor Sysoev and Ivan Tutukin should feature towards the head of the race alongside the experienced Ukrainian, Danylo Sapunov. Home support lies with Beijing Olympian Francisco Serrano with Costa Rica’s Leonardo Chacon one to watch out for from Pan America having finished fifth in last year’s race.
On the women’s side the experienced Jessica Harrison from France will be hoping to finish her excellent 2009 with another fine result. Having made the top ten three times during the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series, including a bronze medal at the Madrid event, she will start as the one to beat.
Alongside her on the start line will be compatriot Carole Peon although the young Ukrainian, Yuliya Sapunova, should prove to be a major threat. If the European under23 champion can put together a strong swim and make the front cycle pack, her running pedigree could see her win the charge to the line. Having featured strongly at both junior and under23 level, the youngster is starting to show signs of being a major threat within the senior ranks.
One athlete hoping for a dose of better luck is Denmark’s Helle Frederiksen who suffered during 2009 with two bad crashes in Kitzbuhel and London. Having hit the barrier coming into transition in Austria and then being brought down during an eight woman crash in the British capital, the Danish athlete will be hoping that she can make it to the finish line without incident in Mexico.
American hopes lie with super swimmers Hayley Peirsol and Sara McLarty. Peirsol, a former swimming world championship bronze medallist, is unbeaten during the swimming stage of her short triathlon career, and if she can instigate an early breakaway with team mate McLarty, the rest of the field will be forced to play catch up.
South American triathlon champion, Elizabeth Bravo from Ecuador, will be one of the dark horses going into Sunday’s race; the fast runner took second in the u23 women’s race at the Pan American Championships behind Barbara Riveros from Chile. 2008 Asian triathlon champion Ai Ueda will be another name to watch come race day.
The women’s race gets underway at 08:00 on Sunday morning with the men starting at 10:30am. Live timing can be found on the ITU website, Triathlon.org