Olympic champion, Alistair Brownlee, starts his campaign for the 2013 world title this weekend in San Diego, California. Taking part in the Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego, Brownlee will go head-to-head with Olympic silver medal winner, Javier Gomez. Britain’s women are also in a strong position to challenge for medals.
Gomez has already chalked up two wins on the ITU international circuit this season, including the first round of the Series in Auckland. In previous World Triathlon Series encounters, Brownlee has won 11 out of 16 races against the Spaniard.
Brownlee will miss younger brother and Olympic bronze medallist, Jonathan, who won in San Diego last year but has opted out in order to rest an ankle injury.
Alistair Brownlee commented: “It was nice to see Jonny win here last year and it certainly gives me some confidence going into the race. You never really know how you are feeling until you are into that race situation.”
Britain will have a strong line up in the men’s race with David McNamee hoping to pick up from where he left off at the end of last year. The Leeds based Scotsman finished 10th in the Series Grand Final in Auckland last October and has demonstrated some good running form already this year.
Also strong on the run will be Loughborough based Mark Buckingham and Adam Bowden, who will be eyeing points to get them to the Grand Final in London in September.
Jodie Stimpson will hope to put her frustrations from Auckland behind her having been forced out of the race with hypothermia. Form prior to that had suggested she could challenge for a top spot alongside the eventual winner and training partner, Anne Haug of Germany.
Also disappointed was Katie Hewison, who withdrew with a stomach bug in Auckland but relishes the prospect of her World Triathlon Series debut in San Diego.
Non Stanford should be another strong contender. The Welsh woman is the reigning U23 World Champion and comfortably won her first race of the season at the European Cup race in Quarteria two weekends ago.
British Triathlon Performance Director, Brendan Purcell, is optimistic ahead of the racing getting underway tomorrow. He said: “Obviously we’re all excited to see Alistair race, but I’m excited about the whole team. They all have big opportunities and they’re looking forward to racing.
“I’m looking for intelligent racing and we’ve already tested out our pre race plans so we’re definitely ready to go.”
Following the San Diego event, the Series will continue next month in Yokohama, Japan, where Jonathan Brownlee is expected to start his 2013 season, 11-12 May. The Grand Final will take place in London’s Hyde Park, 11-15 September. The best four results achieved by each athlete will qualify them for the Grand Final and help decide the 2013 World Champions.
The Omegawave World Triathlon San Diego will be televised live on the BBC Red Button and via triathlon.org/tv online. The women’s race starts at 11:30pm on Friday and the men’s at 12 midnight on Saturday. A highlights package will be shown on BBC1 on Saturday 27 April at 1pm.
British triathletes racing in Auckland:
Katie Hewison, 27, Chorley, coached by Darren Smith
Non Stanford, 24, Swansea, coached by Malcolm Brown/Jack Maitland in Leeds
Jodie Stimpson, 24, Birmingham, coached by Darren Smith
Adam Bowden, 30, London, coached by Mark Pearce in Loughborough
Alistair Brownlee, 24, Leeds, coached by Malcolm Brown/Jack Maitland
Mark Buckingham, 27, Holmfirth, coached by Mark Pearce in Loughborough
David McNamee, 24, Irvine, coached by Malcolm Brown/Jack Maitland in Leeds
Image: Janos Schmidt/ITU