For the second consecutive year and the fifth time in history, the ITU Powerman Long Distance Duathlon World Championships will be decided in the Swiss town of Zofingen.
Defending world champions Melanie Burke (NZL) and Joerie Vansteelant (BEL) will each return in attempts to repeat as the fastest duathletes in the world. The grueling race is set over a challenging 10km run, 150km bike, 30km run distance that includes a steep climb on the bike and hills at the beginning of each run lap. Click here to read the full preview
While this is only the fifth time the ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championships have been set in Zofingen, this year marks the 24th edition of the race in the Powerman series. The World Championship race made its debut on the ITU schedule in the Swiss town in 1997 and returned in 1998. In 2011, the event made its first appearance in Zofingen in 11 years for the seventh ITU Long Distance Duathlon World Championships.
COURSE PROFILE: Long Distance
Run (10km) – The two-lap run course is 45% paved and 55% unpaved but solid underground, with a total height difference of 260m. The exact distance is 9180m.
Bike (150km) – The three-loop bike course travels over a total distance of 150km, with a total height difference of 1600m. Athletes will climb a 16% grade hill, but the climbs are short and the descents long.
Run (30km) – To finish up, athletes run two laps on an out and back course, climbing at the beginning if each lap. The last three kilometres are all downhill to the finish line. The exact distance is 29.2km.
Elite Women – Sunday 2 September – 8:00 (UTC/GMT + 2) Click here to time in your area
Elite Men – Sunday 2 September – 9:00 (UTC/GMT + 2) Click here for time in your area
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Return of the Queen – Although Melanie Burke (NZL) was crowned the 2011 champion, her title isn't necessarily secure the second time around. The three-time Oceania duathlon champion has yet to race in the event this year. Burke prepared for the seven-hour raced by competing in triathlons earlier in the year. Her biggest threat comes from Eva Nystorm (SWE), who took home silver last year.
With veteran and 2011 bronze medallist Erika Csomor (HUN) missing from the start list, Nystorm and Burke could have a dangerous advantage. May Kerstens (NED), who is currently ranked third in the Powerwoman charts and finished fourth in the race last year, could also pose a threat. Lucy Gossage (GBR), the 2012 European Championships gold medallist, looks to be in strong racing form and could challenge for the podium.
King Set for Battle – Four-time world champion Joerie Vansteelant looks dangerous as ever, having recently won the Powerman Austria Duathlon in August and European Championships earlier in the year. The Belgian, who set a course record with a 10-minute margin of victory last year, is in any form compared to 2011, there will be no stopping him.
The 2011 silver medallist Thibaut Humbert (FRA), along wit Andrea Sutz (SUI), the 2011 bronze medallist, will attempt to challenge Vansteelant's hunt for double gold. Sutz's fitness, however, is a question mark, as he was forced to forgo running from February until June due to a training accident.
Nik Cook will be racing Zofingen for 220. Read his race report in issue 279.