The top four ranked triathletes in the ITU World Series will go head-to-head in the 2011 ETU Triathlon European Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, this weekend.
The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series leader and defending champion Alistair Brownlee (GBR), series runner-up Alexander Brukhankov (RUS), 2010 ITU World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP) and 2010 ITU Sprint Triathlon World Champion Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) are set to compete in the men's showdown.
The women's field will be very close with emerging talents such as Emmie Charayron (FRA), Carole Peon (FRA), Ainhoa Murua (ESP), Helle Frederiksen (DEN) and Aileen Morrison (IRL) vying for the European title.
About the race:
Pontevedra, a western coastal city of Spain, which first appeared in the ITU race calendar in 2008 as host of the ITU Triathlon Premium European Cup. It has hosted that event for the past three years. Last year in Athlone, Ireland, the European titles went to Alistair Brownlee, who edged out his rival Gomez by 40 seconds, and Nicola Sprig (SUI).
The Team Triathlon event will be held the following Sunday afternoon. The European Championships have a long history with the 4 x mixed, super-sprint relay triathlon, and the International Triathlon Union is bidding to have the format included at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Elite Women – Saturday, June 25 – 12:30 p.m. (UTC/GMT +2) Click here for time in your area
Elite Men – Saturday, June 25 – 7:00 p.m. (UTC/GMT +2) Click here for time in your area
Elite Team – Sunday, June 26 – 3:30 p.m. (UTC/GMT +2) Click here for time in your area
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
ITU's top ranked men – Seven of the top 10 ranked triathletes in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series standings will be lined up, including the top four: Alistair Brownlee (GBR), Alexander Brukhankov (RUS), Javier Gomez (ESP) and Jonathan Brownlee (GBR). Other top-10 athletes include Dmitry Polyansky (RUS), David Hauss (FRA) and Laurent Vidal (FRA), ranked sixth, seventh and ninth respectively.
The Brownlees – The first question this weekend is who could beat the unstoppable defending champion Alistair Brownlee of Great Britain. The 2009 world champion won rounds two and three of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series in Madrid and Kitzbühel, Austria, this month. His younger brother Jonathan could be the one to overcome him, as he was the runner-up in Madrid, keeping up with Alistair until a few hundred meters from the finish line. Jonathan finished in second in the series opener in Sydney ahead of his brother, who slipped running on the wet road and came in disappointing 29th. This weekend will be the third time the Brownlees clash this season.
Gomez to go for gold on home turf – 2010 world champion Javier Gomez has never missed the podium in Pontevedra and claimed the top spot twice at the ITU Triathlon Premium European Cup in 2008 and 2010. He won the season opener in Sydney, finishing ahead of the indomitable Brownlees. However, less than two months later in Madrid, it was the Brownlees' turn to cross ahead of Gomez, who came in third. Crowds of more than 30,000 are expected to show up to back the local hero.
PAST EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS:
2010 Nicola Spirig (SUI) Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2009 Nicola Spirig (SUI) Javier Gomez (ESP)
2008 Vanessa Fernandes (POR) Frederic Belaubre (FRA)
PAST PONTEVEDRA (ITU PREMIUM EUROPEAN CUP) WINNERS:
2010 Jodie Swallow (GBR) Javier Gomez (ESP)
2009 Radka Vodickova (RUS) Dmitry Polyansky (RUS)
2008 Kathrin Muller (GER) Javier Gomez (ESP)