ITU World Champs Grand Final preview
The Grand Final of the Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series Grand Final takes place this weekend. Here's the ITU's build-up...
With the Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series Grand Final in sight the world's best triathletes go head to head for the coveted prize of being crowned as world champion on Australia's Gold Coast. They will not be alone though as 4,000 top age groupers and paratriathletes will join them for the ITU Triathlon World Championships.
Live coverage of all the racing from the Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series Grand Final will be streamed live and on demand via the ITU's TV site: www.triathlon.org/tv
All eyes in the men's competition are firmly focused on Britain's Alistair Brownlee. The 21-year old sensation stormed to four world series victories in Madrid, Washington DC, Kitzbühel, and London to score maximum points and the series lead.
However the title is far from sewn up and with a further twelve men all in a shot of being crowned as 2009 world champion Brownlee will face an uphill struggle in Australia if the would-be prince is to fend off the challengers to the triathlon throne.
Brownlee's closest challenger is defending champion, and the only man to beat the Brit in 2009, Javier Gomez from Spain, who got one over the youngster at the European championships. Having racked up some impressive performances, including bronze in Madrid when just coming back from injury, the Beijing Olympic Games fourth place finisher will be hungry to put another world title on his résumé to go with his European crown.
With just 351 points separating the top two, the would-be medallists face further threats from behind with Kris Gemmell from New Zealand coming into a good run of form including bronze in London and silver in Yokohama. Germany's Maik Petzold and Steffen Justus are also in the running with Frenchman Laurent Vidal. Hamburg winner Jarrod Shoemaker still has a shot at the title along with Commonwealth champion Brad Kahlefeldt from Australia and Olympic champion Jan Frodeno from Germany. The experienced pairing of Aussie Courtney Atkinson and Kiwi Bevan Docherty could yet cause an upset and the Russian powerhouses, Dmitry Polyansky and Alexander Brukhankov may still have a part to play as the drama unfolds.
On the women's side attention turns to home favourite and Olympic Games bronze medallist Emma Moffatt. Following a stunning season which started with a second place finish in Tongyeong and featured three Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series victories in Washington DC, Kitzbühel and Hamburg, the Aussie may yet still find herself in trouble on Gold Coast.
With Sweden's Lisa Norden posting a remarkably consistent run of results, which included three silver medals in Madrid, Hamburg and London and a historic win at the final race in Yokohama, she lies just 120 points behind the Aussie.
There are a further five athletes who are still in with a fighting chance to win the series. Andrea Hewitt, the Madrid winner, sits in third with Daniela Ryf from Switzerland fourth and Sarah Haskins from the USA in fifth. Reigning world champion, Great Britain's Helen Jenkins sits in sixth and Juri Ide from Japan is seventh.
However questions are being raised over Moffatt's fitness as reports from Australia indicate that the series leader has been suffering with plantar fasciitis, a foot and heel injury, which will have reduced her training and could still hold her back in the biggest race of the year. It's certainly all to play for in both the men's and women's competitions!
Also to be kept in mind are those athletes who have the pedigree to win the Grand Final but do not feature in the overall Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Series rankings. Beijing silver medallist Vanessa Fernandes can never be written off despite having suffered a miserable year of injuries and problems. On the men's side Simon Whitfield from Canada is one to watch out for, the double Olympic medallist knows how to deliver on the big occasion and will be looking to cause an upset.
Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Grand Final - Gold Coast, AUS
Wednesday, September 9
Aquathlon World Championships - 13:00 local (GMT+10)
Friday, September 11
Under23 Women - 10:00am local (GMT+10)
Under23 Men - 12:30pm local
Saturday, September 12
Paratriathlon - 06:45 am
Age Group Olympic - 07:00am
ELITE MEN - 15:15 local time
Sunday, September 13
Age Group Sprint - 06:45am
Junior Women - 11:45
Junior Men - 13:15
ELITE WOMEN - 14:45 local time
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