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The ITU World Triathlon Series heads to Auckland this Sunday for the first standard-distance race of the year. The course takes place around Queens Wharf and features a two-lap (1.5km) swim, an eight-lap (40km) bike featuring three climbs per lap and a four-lap (10km) run. The notoriously difficult bike course paired with choppy conditions in the water usually can result in an exciting race for athletes and spectators alike. The opportunity for a WTS title, and the $150,000 worth of prize money has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport.
Defending ITU world champion Gwen Jorgenson will race in Auckland after winning in the first WTS race of the season in Abu Dhabi. She will be attempting to reach her seventh-consecutive WTS victory and 10th career WTS win. Jorgensen has struggled in Auckland the last two years, with a DNF (2013) and a 12th-place finish (2014), and will likely be looking to prove that she can carry her dominance onto a tough bike course. Americans will be well represented in the women’s race, with Abu Dhabi top-10 finishers Katie Zaferes, Lindsey Jerdonek and Sarah True on the start list. Germany’s Anne Haug, a two-time gold medal winner in Auckland, will be toeing the line with company that includes New Zealand’s own Andrea Hewitt, Olympic silver medalist Lisa Norden (SWE) and XTERRA world champion Flora Duffy (BER). With so many strong cyclists, they will likely try to utilize the tough bike course to get away from faster runners, namely Jorgensen.
Spain’s heavy hitters will be in attendance this Sunday, with No. 1 ranked Mario Mola competing after a season-opening WTS win in Abu Dhabi. Javier Gomez Noya, the defending world champion and reigning WTS Auckland champion (since 2012) will be looking for his first WTS title of the season in Auckland. An impressive four of the six spaniards on the starting line are ranked in the top 10. Joe Maloy, the No. 2 ranked American in 2014, will lead the four U.S. men on Sunday at his first WTS race of the season. Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee and Portugal’s Joao Silva will also be vying for a podium finish.
Watch the races
The races kick off at 7:50 pm ET on Saturday, March 28 and can been watched live on Triathlonlive.tv, and will be shown on Universal Sports Network from 4-9 p.m. ET on March 29.