ITU World Cup returns to Cancun this Sunday

Final ITU Triathlon World Cup of the season in Mexico this Sunday

The 2012 ITU World Cup season comes to a close in one of the most storied cities on ITU's calendar with the final stop in Cancun, Mexico. After a five-year break from action, Cancun returns to host its tenth world cup in the form of the fast-paced sprint distance. The flat bike course invites high cycling speeds before finishing up with another flat all-out run for the podium.

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About the race:  

ITU racing returns to Cancun for the first time since 2007, but the city is one of the most familiar spots on the ITU calendar. The gorgeous coastal city is one of the longest-serving hosts in ITU history, as it has been the host site of two ITU World Championships and nine World Cup events over the years. Mexico is also the only country to host two ITU events in the same year, with the city of Huatulco having organized a world cup earlier this year. 

STORIES TO WATCH FOR:  

Allusive Gold for Mexico – Despite Cancun's longstanding history on the ITU schedule, a Mexican has yet to win a world cup race in the coastal city. However, all of that could change with strong swimmer Claudia Rivas (MEX) slated to compete. Rivas had a splendid performance on home soil earlier this year at the Huatulco World Cup where she claimed bronze and secured her place at the London Olympics.

The flat course in Cancun is suited to Rivas' strengths, making her Mexico's best hope for a podium. Like Rivas, Crisanto Grajales (MEX) has the opportunity to become the first male Mexican to garner gold in Cancun. Grajales proved his shape recently when he claimed his first ITU world cup title in Guatape with a last-minute dash for the finish. He was also successful in the sprint distance in Guatape last year, suggesting his sprint skills could be on par in Mexico.

Women's Race – Claudia Rivas (MEX) will faceoff with a number of world cup medallists for a chance at victory. Flora Duffy (BER), who also has fond memories of Mexico, will wear #1 in Cancun. Duffy and Rivas battled in Huatulco where Duffy ran to her first world cup title under high temperatures. Canada's Kathy Tremblay, who started the 2012 season in spectacular form with a win at the Ishigaki World Cup and a top 10 finish in Sydney, will be a face to watch out for at the finish. World Cup regulars Rebecca Robisch (GER) and Elizabeth Bravo will also look for their first world cup podium.

Men's Race – Steffen Justus (GER) comes into the final World Cup wearing number one at the start. After winning the opening round of the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series in Sydney and recording a third-place finish in the sprint distance in Hamburg, Justus is a heavy favourite for the podium going into Cancun.

Kyle Jones (CAN) has also had success at a World Cup sprint, claiming gold on home soil in Edmonton. As in Colombia, Manuel Huerta (USA) will be a top name to challenge Grajales. Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) showcased his threatening sprint speed at the Edmonton World Cup earlier this year with a third-place finish.

SCHEDULE:

Elite Women – October 7 – 08:00 (UTC/GMT -7) Click here to time in your area

Elite Men – October 7 – 9:30 (UTC/GMT -7) Click here for time in your area

WEBSITE:

triathlon.org

asdeporte.com

START LISTS:

Click here for women's start list 

Click here for men's start list

LIVE COVERAGE:

Live coverage from Cancun will be available on race day at triathlon.org/live or at @triathlonlive on Twitter.  

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:    

$50,000 USD (equal for men & women)  

COURSE PROFILE: ?Sprint Distance

Swim (750m) – Athletes start from a massive beach start for a one-lap swim in the ocean

Bike (20km) – The bike consists of three out and back laps along the coast

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Run (5km) – Two, 2.5km run laps with a portion of the course through the transition area