The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series continues for the second consecutive weekend with round five in London. After thrilling races in Hamburg last weekend, the world’s top athletes have a couple days of rest before heading to the English capital to compete in world famous Hyde Park. The event will offer a preview of the course that will be contested at the 2012 London Olympic Triathlon.
The Elite women will be the first to race, diving into the Serpentine Lake at 1pm on Saturday. After skipping out on the Hamburg event, Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz has slipped from first to third in the world rankings and will not doubt be looking to get back on top of the standings in London. In order to do so, Riveros Diaz will have to top reigning world champion Emma Moffatt of Australia, who took over the number-one spot with her runner-up finish in Germany. The Aussie is having a stellar year, but she has yet to find the form that saw her finish first on five occasions in 2009.
Spoiling the day for Moffatt in Hamburg was Sweden’s Lisa Norden, who won a hard fought sprint by less than one second. The win came as a surprise for the Swede, who had been battling injury for much of the past two months. If it comes down to a bunch sprint in London, Norden’s devastating kick will be hard to match.
Perhaps the only woman with a stronger finishing burst than Norden is Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig, who outsprinted Norden to win in London last year. Spirig is having one of the best seasons of her career, winning round three of the Series in Madrid last month, and also taking top honours at the European Championships in Ireland three weeks ago.
Others to watch out for include Aussie Emma Snowsill, who has been lightning quick on the run this year, local favourite Helen Jenkins, who finished third here last season, Japan’s Mariko Adachi, currently ranked second in the world, and Kiwi Andrea Hewitt, who is always a threat in a sprint.
The Men’s race will go off at 4pm on Sunday and the British crowd will no doubt be behind reigning world champ Alistair Brownlee, who returned from an early season stress fracture to win round three of the Series in Madrid and the European Championships in Athlone. After sitting out last weekend’s race in Germany, Brownlee should be fresh and ready for a repeat win in London.
While the Brit has shown he’s back in form, so has Spaniard Javier Gomez, who started off the season a hip injury. The Spaniard finished as the runner-up to Brownlee in Ireland three weeks ago, before running away from the field to win in Hamburg. Finishing second to Gomez last weekend was Jan Frodeno, who took over the top spot in the world rankings with his runner-up performance. The German sits only one point ahead of former number one Alexander Brukhankov of Russia, who will be looking to reclaim the top spot in London.
Other contenders for the win include Kiwi Bevan Docherty, who won the opening round of the Series in Sydney, red hot Aussie Courtney Atkinson, who finished second in Seoul and Madrid, and Brit Tim Don, who was dominant on the run en route to winning the $200,000 top prize at the Hy-Vee Elite Cup last month.
As always, live text, timing and video will be available at triathlon.org tv. Be sure to tune in at 1pm local time on Saturday to catch the women’s race and 4pm on Sunday for the men’s contest.