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A host of London bound athletes headline the 2012 Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup this weekend including Erin Densham (AUS), Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Laurent Vidal (FRA). With the finalization of Olympic teams, the last races before London are all important not only offering the best indication on current form, but also key preparation for the Games.
Read race previews from Triathlon.org below:
Women’s Race Preview
In the women’s race, Hewitt and Densham will provide the focus as the top two ranked women in the field and considered favourites for the Olympic podium. The pair has already met twice this year in Mooloolaba and Sydney. Both were won by Densham, and Hewitt took bronze at both. While Densham has been working hard for a place on the Australian Olympic team entering her sixth race of the season, Hewitt’s race plan will no doubt revolve around Olympic preparation in the final lead up to London.
Men’s Race Preview
Stand out favourites in the men’s race are Dmitry Polyanskiy and Vidal. Polyanskiy is currently second in the ITU World Series rankings after taking bronze at the most recent race in Madrid. He already has two World Cup titles to his name, Tiszaujvaros in 2009 and last year in Tongyeong. However, Vidal’s current form will be a force to be reckoned with after he took bronze at the opening World Series of the season in Sydney, following his Mooloolaba World Cup victory in March.
Among the rest of the elite men is Ukraine’s Ivan Ivanov who finished fifth at the 2012 Ishigaki ITU Triathlon World Cup and Portugal’s Joao Pereira who has one World Cup podium to date.
Aaron Harris (GBR) will also be one to watch as he shared the podium in Banyoles last year with Javier Gomez. Andrey Bryukhankov, younger brother of current world number one Alexander Bryukhankov, enters his third world cup at elite level and 2012 Team ITU development athletes Ognjen Stojanovic (SRB) and Per Wangel (SWE) are also in action in Banyoles.
Gwen Jorgensen (USA), who has already qualified for the US Olympic Team, also competed in Mooloolaba with a top ten finish and ended just out of the medals in Sydney. A win in Banyoles would be her second ITU World Cup title after Tiszaujvaros last year.
Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle will also be in contention with two top ten finishes this year in Sydney then San Diego and she won the 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup. In addition Lucy Hall will be looking for a good performance after the strong swimmer was recently selected by Great Britain for London.
Also in the field is Poland’s Agnieszka Jerzyk, reigning under23 world champion and New Zealand’s Mikayla Nielsen who is reigning junior world champion, as well as Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) who won in Banyoles last year and local hope Banyoles born Carolina Routier (ESP).
Follow the race at Triathlon.org/live.