With their long course debut just weeks away, three of the top women currently racing the World Triathlon Series circuit have spoken of their nerves at racing Challenge Bahrain.
Britain’s Jodie Stimpson, who won gold at this year’s Commonwealth Games and finished fourth on the ITU world rankings, said: “I am really excited about it and extremely nervous as well, but will be a fun challenge. Even though I race against the ITU athletes all the time, I don’t get to race against them in this form.”
The race – being held for the first time this December – will involve a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run, all spread out over a point-to-point course that passes both ancient Mesopotamian sites and high-tech landmarks, and finishes at the F1 motor circuit (maps here).
Among Jodie’s ITU rivals on the start line will be London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham (AUS), who’s been away from serious racing for the best part of 18 months but recently finished second at a sprint race in Las Vegas, held during the annual Interbike expo.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of trying something different and completely out of my comfort zone,” said Densham. “I’m also totally freaked out to be quite honest. The distance, the competition, the unknown.”
New Zealand’s Nicky Samuels, who finished fifth in the ITU world rankings this year, sounds a little more bullish for her long distance debut in Bahrain, saying: “Obviously people in the habit of doing halves are going to be better prepared but I’m sure the likes of myself and Jodie [Stimpson] won’t back down easily.”
In the men’s field, big names confirmed so far include Tim Don (GBR), Pete Jacobs, (AUS), Chris McCormack (AUS), Eneko Llanos (ESP) and Tyler Butterfield (BER).
Challenge Bahrain will take place on 6 December 2014 with an attention-grabbing prize purse of $500k on offer, and the winners will get $100k apiece. 220 will be there to cover all the action as it happens – stay tuned!
(Main image: Janos Schmidt)
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