Reigning world champion Helen Jenkins will take to the water of the Serpentine in Hyde Park looking to win on home soil at the sixth round of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series in London.
The Brit has gradually improved throughout the year, posting her best result of fifth in both Washington DC and Kitzbühel. 2007 world junior triathlon champion, Hollie Avil, could well feature towards the front as well as she takes the confidence and experience of qualifying as a member of Team GB for last year’s Beijing Olympic Games into the race.
Aside from the home nation all eyes will be on the return of Vanessa Fernandes from Portugal. The 2007 world champion and Beijing silver medallist has been off form this year as she recovered from a collarbone fracture and strain. If she is back towards her best she will be tough to overhaul.
With series leader Emma Moffatt missing the race as she prepares for next month’s Grand Final, her fellow Australians might fancy their chances. Annabel Luxford and Erin Densham have been relatively quiet all year but are always dangerous. The New Zealanders might have something to say about their neighbours stealing the limelight and Andrea Hewitt, the Madrid winner, has shown that she can deliver on the big occasion.
Triathlon commentators are starting to run out of superlatives to describe the dominance of Britain’s Alistair Brownlee who has won all three rounds of the Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series that he has competed in.
Madrid, Washington DC and Kitzbühel have all seen Brownlee victories, but the Yorkshireman’s big prize before the Gold Coast would be a win at the 2012 London Olympic Games venue. British hopes also rest with Will Clarke and Tim Don who have shown glimpses of being back towards their best. Brownlee’s younger brother, Jonathan, may also be one to watch out for as he looks to scalp a few more of the experienced veterans.
Aside from Brownlee the man of the moment is Jarrod Shoemaker from the USA. Having shown everyone a clean pair of heels in Hamburg the American is full of confidence leading into London. The super runner will be hoping to hold off Australia’s Brad Kahlefeldt for the second time, as the Aussie goes in search of his first win of the year following three silver medals during the World Series.
The Europeans will want to keep the rest of the world behind them, and none more so than reigning European champion Javier Gomez from Spain. The 2008 world champion is now fully recovered from an early season injury and will want to upset the Brownlee party having finished as runner-up to the Englishman on two occasions already in 2009.
Steffen Justus fronts German hopes in the absence of Olympic champion Jan Frodeno whilst Laurent Vidal from France will be looking to keep his Dextro Energy Triathlon – ITU World Championship Series dreams alive with another strong performance. The Russians should also be in the thick of the action with Brukhankov, Vasiliev and Polyansky all making the trip to the British capital.
Alongside the elite competitors the event will also feature Europe’s largest paratriathlon competition with athletes flying in from across the world to compete. Organisers are expecting a crowd of 250,000 to watch the racing unfold.
Visit www.triathlon.org/tv to watch the races live.