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As the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series moves on to Madrid, Spain for this weekend’s second leg, spectators will have their first chance to see Olympic Games gold medallist Jan Frodeno who starts his season in the Spanish capital.
He will be up against home favourite Javier Gomez who went through the 2008 World Cup series unbeaten, claiming four victories and a World Championship title before finishing an agonising fourth in Beijing at the Olympics. Having picked up a foot injury after the Games, Gomez has been getting back to full fitness, finishing second at the recent Pontevedra European Cup. However, Gomez’s record over the Caso del Campo course in Madrid is exceptional with two wins and a second place finish over the past three years, and he will be one of the men to look out for.
Series leader Bevan Docherty misses Madrid as he prepares for next month’s World Championship race in Washington DC, and so Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt will look to put himself on the top of the rankings with a strong performance. Disappointed to narrowly miss out on the win in Korea, Kahlefeldt may feel he has something to prove, and has spent the month of May training in Tiszaujvaros, Hungary to prepare himself for the second leg of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series.
Also from the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand’s Kris Gemmell will be looking for a strong performance in Madrid having just missed out on a top three finish in Korea as he recovered from a nasty crash sustained whilst racing back on home soil. The USA’s Jarrod Shoemaker should feature towards the fore as he looks to build on recent results. The American featured highly in Tongyeong until a stitch late on the run put him back to sixth place.
World under 23 champion, Alistair Brownlee from Great Britain will look to get his season underway and will be joined on the pontoon by recently crowned British national champion Will Clarke and fellow Brits Tim Don and Olly Freeman. Russia will be strongly represented as Dmitry Polyansky aims for his third podium finish in as many races, whilst Ivan Vasiliev returns to action following a second place result at the Ishigaki ITU World Cup in Japan last month.
In the women’s race Portuguese sensation Vanessa Fernandes was expected to make her World Championship Series debut in Madrid, however has withdrawn at the last minute as she continues to recover from a broken collarbone sustained in early season training.
With Fernandes off the start list Madrid will have a new women’s champion as the Portuguese star had been unbeaten on the Caso del Campo course since its first inclusion in the ITU calendar back in 2003. Olympic gold medallist and current World Championship leader Emma Snowsill is also missing the race as she focuses on the third leg of the series in Washington, DC. The door of opportunity is wide open for the women competitors to maximise their points total.
Annabell Luxford, the Australian national champion will be the Aussie’s sole competitor in the women’s race but has a strong record on the course having finished second in 2005 and third in 2004 whilst Japan’s Juri Ide heads to Europe on an impressive run of form which includes victory at the Ishigaki World Cup followed by a third place finish in Tongyeong. The rising star of Asian triathlon impressed with a fifth place finish in Beijing at the Olympic Games in 2008.
New Zealand’s 2008 ITU World Cup Series Champion, Samantha Warriner will be hoping to improve on her eighth place finish in Tongyeong where she crashed on the bike and had to work hard to catch the lead pack.
As the season heads to Spain a large European contingent will be making their way across the continent. Great Britain’s Helen Jenkins, the 2008 World Champion, finished second on the Madrid course just a year ago whilst the big breakthrough of 2008, Hollie Avil, will looking to get her season underway with a bang. Luxembourg’s Liz May should prove to be a strong threat, as well Lisa Norden from Sweden, who impressed during the 2008 season with victory at the world cup race in Lorient, France.
Germany’s Olympic athletes, Ricarda Lisk, Anja Dittmer and Christine Pilz will all line up alongside the French duo of Carole Peon and Jess Harrison whilst Athens Olympic gold medallist Kate Allen will be Austria’s sole representative.
Complimentary to the live international television broadcasts will be a premium online service giving viewers the opportunity to watch all the races live and on demand. Fans can access live video free of charge from each Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship race on www.triathlon.org/tv, but can also avail of the premium service where the races and highlights shows can be watched in high quality when ever they choose.
Provided by Triathlon.org.