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How (And Why) To Watch: ITU Auckland Grand Final

If you caught the ITU bug after watching the Olympics, you can catch the action of some of the best athletes in their final race of 2012.

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If you caught the ITU bug after watching this summer’s Olympic Games, you can catch the action of some of the best Olympic-distance athletes in their final race of the season, the ITU Auckland Grand Final, this weekend. Heavy hitters and London medalists Javier Gomez, Jonathan Brownlee, Lisa Norden and Erin Densham will fight to take the title in the final race of the ITU World Triathlon Series.

Know before you watch:

• Rankings are determined by taking an athlete’s five best results of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series events, ITU Triathlon World Cup events and the ITU World Championship Series Grand Final.

• Leading the men’s rankings is Jonathan Brownlee with 3825 points. In order to take his first WTS world champ title, Brownlee just needs a spot somewhere on the podium. His gold medalist brother Alistair is not competing because he recently had his appendix removed.

• Brownlee is up against 2012 silver medalist Javier Gomez of Spain, who has 3645 points, and would need to win the race with Brownlee off the podium for the title. (He won this series in 2008 and 2010 but has only beaten Brownlee once this year—in London). Following the two Olympians in the rankings are Russia’s Alexander Bryukhankov and Dmitry Polyanskiy and South Africa’s Richard Murray.

• Australia’s Erin Densham will go head-to-head with Sweden’s Lisa Norden; Bronze medalist Densham leads with 3611 points and Norden with 3581. Gold medalist Nicola Spirig has the third-most points but will not be competing. To win the title, Densham would have to finish ahead of Norden and higher than eighth place. Kiwi Andrea Hewitt, Anne Haug of Germany and Aussie Emma Moffatt are currently in positions 3–5.

• Team USA athletes include Sarah Groff, Gwen Jorgensen and Jarrod Shoemaker.

• The new course involves a two-lap 1.5K swim, eight-lap 40K bike and a four-lap 10K run. The bike course is rumored to be hilly, working to the advantage of the strong cyclists in the field.

When:
The Elite Women race on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 12:16 p.m. New Zealand time (7:16 p.m. EDT Friday), and the Elite Men go off at 1:06 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21 (8:06 EDT Saturday).

How:

You can follow the race live or on-demand on Triathlonlive.tv or on Twitter @triathlonlive and @ITUOnline. In the United States, the event will be live on Universalsports.com or on delay on Universal’s TV station. Check Triathlon.org for further details and TV listings.

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