Yokohama Preview: The battle for 2012 starts here

2012 ITU World Championship Series kicks off in Yokohama on Monday

It might still technically be 2011, but the 2012 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series kicks off in Yokohama on Monday.
 
The Yokohama round was originally scheduled for May, but postponed after the devastating earthquake that hit the region. But thanks to the work of the ITU, local organising committee and Japan Triathlon Union (JTU), the event was rescheduled and points will now count towards the 2012 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series rankings.
 
Therefore, expect plenty of athletes who are keen to make a fresh start after Beijing. Yokohama was part of the first Dextro Energy Triathlon Series in 2009, with Jan Frodeno and Lisa Norden claiming their debut series wins there. The course is based around Yokohama’s beautiful harbour, with a two-lap 1.5km swim, an eight-lap 40km bike course and a four-lap 10km run. Click here for full race preview 
 
SCHEDULE:      
Elite Women – Monday 19 September – 8:05am (UTC/GMT +1) Click here for time in your area   
Elite Men – Monday 19 September – 11:05am (UTC/GMT +1)  Click here for time in your area 
 
WEBSITES:
  
START LISTS:
  
LIVE COVERAGE:
Live video coverage from London will be available on race day at triathlonlive.tv 
Or follow @triathlonlive on Twitter for text updates on race day.
 
STORIES TO WATCH FOR
Hewitt vs Jenkins rematch
The newly crowned World Champion, Helen Jenkins, and the Grand Final winner, Andrea Hewitt, will enter Yokohama wearing number 1 and 2 respectively. The overall gold and silver medallists locked horns in an epic run battle in Beijing. The pair ran together almost the entire time until Hewitt surged away in the final few hundred metres to secure the biggest victory of her career.
 
The Return of Vanessa Fernandes
Yokohama will be the site of a highly anticipated comeback of an ITU legend – Vanessa Fernandes.  The Portuguese superstar announced earlier this year she was taking an indefinite break from triathlon, after sparkling career that included a record 20 World Cup titles, Olympic silver and the 2007 World Championship.  But now one of the great athletes in ITU history is on the comeback trail, which begins in Yokohama on Monday.
  
Wide Open Men’s Field
With the absence of the world championship medallists – Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee, and Javier Gomez, the elite men’s field is wide open and ripe for a first-time winner.  Among the major contenders are Grand Final silver medallist Sven Riederer, Russians Alexander Bryukhankov and Dmitry Polyansky, Frenchman Laurent Vidal, double Olympic medallists Simon Whitfield (CAN) and Bevan Docherty (NZL), and Aussies Brendan Sexton and Brad Kahlefeldt.  Of those men, only Docherty and Kahlefeldt have ever tasted victory on the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series – Docherty in Sydney 2010 and Tongyeong 2009, and Kahlefeldt in Hamburg this year. Click here for full men’s start list.
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