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The 2013 ITU World Cup season will get underway in the familiar city of Mooloolaba this weekend. In its seventh year as the series opener and its 11th appearance on the ITU calendar, Mooloolaba’s electric atmosphere will no doubt set the tone for the remaining nine World Cups. While the race normally features a beach-start, the swim has been moved to the Maroochy River this year due to weather conditions. Similar to 2009, the course will now feature two transition zones with an extended bike course, but will remain unchanged on the run.
Laurent Vidal (FRA) will head back to Australia for the chance to earn his second consecutive Mooloolaba World Cup title. Last year, Vidal came out on top despite a three-way sprint for gold. This year, he’ll face the likes of Olympic silver medalist Javier Gomez (ESP), who displayed unexpected run sprint prowess at the Grand Final in Auckland for a second-place finish in the overall 2012 rankings. With Richard Varga (SVK) in the mix, the men’s field will likely be in for a quick swim. After scoring a pair of gold medals at both Oceania Championship races this year, Peter Kerr (AUS) will look to pick up his first ITU World Cup medal.
Despite a small start list, the women’s race is loaded with some of the strongest ladies on the ITU circuit, such as Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Anne Haug (GER) and Australia’s own Emma Moffatt and Emma Jackson just to name a few. Strong in all three disciplines with finishing power on the run, expect Hewitt to be a top contender in the sports-enthusiastic city. Haug’s strong sprint skills and boosted confidence could make her a top player in both Mooloolaba and in all ITU races this year. Like Haug, several more up and comers will toe the line in Mooloolaba, such as Aileen Reid (IRL), Maaike Caelers and Jodie Stimpson (GBR).
Read more: Triathlon.org