Final Race Of Olympic Qualifying Set For This Weekend
Olympic spots will be solidified in Madrid.
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This year marks the 10th anniversary of an ITU race in Madrid, from its start as a European Cup, then World Cup, and then the ITU World Triathlon Series since its start in 2009. This year it’s also special because it’s where the London 2012 Olympic Games qualification period started two years ago and also where it ends. But aside from the Olympic dreams that could be decided this weekend, there are also two elite titles on the line, and the two fields assembled mean both races are going to come down to the wire.
Elite Women’s Preview
Andrea Hewitt missed only her second series race in series history by sitting out San Diego, but that does nothing to affect her favortism for Madrid. Hewitt’s incredible run of podium finishes hasn’t been matched over the past six months, in fact the last time she wasn’t on an ITU podium was in London last year, when she finished 6th. She’s also a previous Madrid winner, it’s where she claimed her first series win back in 2009 and could take the lead in the overall series rankings with a win.
But Hewitt isn’t the only one in form. Nicola Spirig endured a tough 2011, but is off to a brilliant start to the Olympic year with a silver medal in Mooloolaba, a fifth place in Sydney and a European Championship win. The two women that shared the podium with Spirig in Eilat are also ones to watch, Ainhoa Murua finished sixth in Sydney before going on to silver in Israel while Emmie Charayron has great history in the Spanish capital. She won silver here in 2009, before stamping another classy run last year to claim bronze.
Elite Men’s Preview
It will be the first year in series history that Alistair Brownlee does not win in Madrid, as he’s sitting this one out in his continued recovery from an Achilles injury. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a Brownlee on top of the podium for the fourth year in a row. Jonathan Brownlee might not have competed in a race in seven months when he came to San Diego, but it didn’t matter as he dominated the field to claim his first series win in 2012. Jonathan is also almost as comfortable with Madrid as his older brother; last year they stood on the podium together for the first time here – they went on to do that six times in 2011 – and he said after San Diego he couldn’t wait to race in Casa de Campo park.
Read more: Triathlon.org