Preview the professional fields for the men and women at the Washington D.C. ITU World Championship Series triathlon.
The top four men from last year’s Beijing Olympic Games are in Washington, DC this weekend to do battle once again. Their incredible sprint finish encapsulated the excitement and ferocity of triathlon on the world stage, and this year’s inaugural Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series has kept the ball rolling with some intense action.
Olympic champion Jan Frodeno from Germany ran well in the series’ second leg to finish tenth having spent the cycle portion in the chase pack. Beijing silver medalist, Canada’s Simon Whitfield, started his season with a disappointing 14th at the opening leg in Tongyeong, Korea, and will want to make amends in the US Capital whilst Bevan Docherty from New Zealand, who took bronze in Beijing and won the opening leg in Tongyeong, looks for his second victory. Another first place finish would put him in pole position before the athletes head to Europe for three races in the summer.
The man who finished just outside the medals at the Olympic Games was Spain’s Javier Gomez, who enjoyed an otherwise flawless 2008. Having come back from an ankle injury, Gomez was off form in Madrid but still battled through for a bronze medal. With another few weeks of training in his legs he will be one to watch.
Madrid winner Alistair Brownlee, the former under 23 and junior world champion from Great Britain, put together a flawless race in the Spanish capital to send tremors through the triathlon world. A similarly stunning run performance in Washington would give him back to back victories. He will toe the line alongside team mates Will Clarke, the British national champion, and 2006 World Champion Tim Don.
Brad Kahlefeldt has returned to a great run of form following a year scuppered by injury. Having narrowly missed out on the win in Tongyeong the Aussie ran through to a ninth place finish in Madrid, keeping him firmly in the hunt for overall honours.
Home support will focus on the US athletes who include the speedy Jarrod Shoemaker and Beijing Olympic Games seventh place finisher Hunter Kemper. Matt Reed has enjoyed some promising results in non-drafting racing so far this year but is yet to convert his success to ITU racing in 2009. Washington will also mark the welcome return of Andy Potts who focused on long distance racing after failing to make the US Olympic team.
Aside from Frodeno the Germans welcome Daniel Unger, the 2007 World Champion back into their team alongside Stefan Justus who had an impressive fifth place finish in Tongyeong. Frenchman Laurent Vidal will start motivated as the newly crowned French national champion whilst Africa’s best shot at a medal, Hendrik De Villiers, makes his season debut.
Exciting action is assured in the women’s race with all of the podium finishers from the opening two races in Tongyeong, Korea and Madrid, Spain toeing the start line.
All eyes will be on 2008 Olympic champion Emma Snowsill from Australia who was in devastating form at the start of the year as she ran out as the winner in Tongyeong despite only managing limited training in the lead up to the race. Compatriot and Olympic bronze medallist, Emma Moffatt, was second that day, and will be hoping for another top three finish to consolidate her impressive points total.
Japan’s Juri Ide was third in Tongyeong, however lacked the strength on the bike to stay with the leaders on the hills in Madrid. The flat, fast Washington course could suit her style of racing, and she will be a real threat.
Following their epic sprint finish in Madrid, New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt and Lisa Norden from Sweden can expect to go head to head once again in round three whilst Jessica Harrison from France will hope to improve on her bronze medal.
Home attention will be firmly focused on Laura Bennett from Florida who narrowly missed out on the podium in Beijing at the Olympic Games, finishing an agonizing fourth. Washington marks Bennett’s first race of the new series where she will line up alongside team mate Sarah Haskins who took fifth in Madrid and enjoyed a successful 2008, including a silver medal at the world championships in Vancouver.
Switzerland’s Magali Di Marco Messmer currently tops the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship rankings following consistent seventh and sixth place finishes in the opening two races. She will be hoping to consolidate her lead come Sunday night.
The Kiwi Debbie Tanner may well be one to look out for, as will Australia’s Erin Densham who has shown some electric run form which gained her selection for the World Cross Country Championships. Canada’s Kathy Tremblay stepped up to the plate with fourth in Korea and has been training solidly back home in Montreal in the lead up to Washington.
A strong European contingent will also be hoping for success with Britain’s defending World Champion, Helen Jenkins making the trip, as well as the ever consistent Anja Dittmer from Germany.
Provided by: Triathlon.org