By Nicola Hargreaves on 12/06/12 at 5:04 am
Erin Densham (AUS), Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) and Laurent Vidal (FRA) headline the 2012 Banyoles ITU Triathlon World Cup this weekend. With the finalisation of Olympic teams, the last races before London are all important not only offering the best indication on current form, but also key preparation for the Games.
Following a successful European Cup in 2011, Banyoles this year hosts the fourth ITU Triathlon World Cup of the 2012 season. The race begins in the Lake of Banyoles, the rowing venue at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, for a two-lap swim before the bike leads athletes around the lake for a mostly flat but technical ride. The 10km run course passes through the park for a flat and fast finish.
Elite Women’s Preview
In the women’s race, Hewitt and Densham will wear #1 and #2 respectively and will provide the focus. The pair has already met twice this year at the Mooloolaba World Cup and Sydney WTS. Both were won by Densham, and Hewitt took bronze at both. While Densham has been working hard for a place on the Australian Olympic team entering her sixth race of the season, Hewitt’s race plan will no doubt revolve around Olympic preparation in the final lead up to London 2012.
Gwen Jorgensen (USA), who has already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team, also competed in Mooloolaba with a top ten finish and ended just out of the medals in Sydney. A win in Banyoles would be her second ITU World Cup title after breaking through in Tiszaujvaros last year.
Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle will also be in contention with two top ten finishes this year in Sydney then San Diego and she won the 2011 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup. In addition Lucy Hall will be looking for a good performance after the strong swimmer was recently selected the British Olympic team.
Also in the field is Poland’s Agnieszka Jerzyk, the reigning under23 world champion and New Zealand’s Mikayla Nielsen who is reigning junior world champion, as well as Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) who won in Banyoles last year and local hope Banyoles born Carolina Routier (ESP).
Elite Men’s Preview
Stand out favourites in the men’s race are Dmitry Polyanskiy and Vidal. Polyanskiy is currently second in the ITU World Series rankings after taking bronze at the most recent race in Madrid. He already has two World Cup titles to his name, Tiszaujvaros in 2009 and last year in Tongyeong.
However, Vidal’s current form will be a force to be reckoned with after he claimed bronze at the opening WTS of the season in Sydney, which followed his Mooloolaba World Cup victory in March.
Aaron Harris (GBR) will also be one to watch as he shared the podium in Banyoles last year with Javier Gomez. Andrey Bryukhankov, younger brother of current world number one Alexander Bryukhankov, enters his third world cup at elite level. Team ITU development athletes Ognjen Stojanovic (SRB) and Per Wangel (SWE) are also in action in Banyoles.
The racing gets underway with the elite women at 9:45am on Sunday 17 June, followed by the men’s race at 12.45pm. Live timing and text updates will be available on www.triathlon.org/live, and the full wrap and video highlights will be on www.triathlon.org after the race.
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