By Courtney Akrigg on 07/03/18 at 5:24 pm
For the 16th consecutive year, world’s top triathletes will go to the Sunshine Coast this weekend to participate in the second stop of the ITU World Cup Tour, in Mooloolaba. With athletes focussing on preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, the start list for the 2018 ITU Mooloolaba World Cup is packed with potential medallists to shine on the Gold Coast in one month.
The tough course and incredible spectator support creates an electric atmosphere, that makes Mooloolaba an athletes favourite race spot. Athletes will have to face a challenging sprint course with a beach start for a 750m swim clockwise off Mooloolaba beach. The bike course will consist of four laps on a quite technical and hilly 5 km loop along Mooloolaba Esplanade and Alexandra Parade. The athletes will then go for a 5km run on an undulating 3 lap course, taking in stunning coastal views along the way.
Wearing number one on the Sunshine Coast will be American Kirsten Kasper, who had an impressive start of the season finishing in fourth place in WTS Abu Dhabi only one week ago. “After Abu Dhabi, I relocated to the Gold Coast and I will be based here until the New Plymouth World Cup”, she said. “I’m excited to be in Australia to race and to train for this month. The field for this weekend’s race looks well rounded and there are definitely girls with early season form leading into the Commonwealth Games. I’m happy to have a race under my belt and excited to keep building on that performance”.
She will definitely have to keep an eye on the Australian squad present in Mooloolaba, led by Charlotte McShane and including the bronze medallist in WTS Abu Dhabi, Natalie Van Coevorden, who showed that she is one to watch for in sprint races with hard bike courses, like the one athletes will face in the Sunshine Coast. “I have recovered well post travel from Abu Dhabi and this week has mostly been about getting the body moving again”, said Natalie. “The high from last weekend is a great overall vibe to have and motivates me more for this weekend’s racing,” she said. Also in great form is Emma Jeffcoat (AUS), who won the Oceania Sprint Championships only three weeks ago in Devonport.
The Aussies will have to watch out for the American team, also really strong this year in Mooloolaba. Chelsea Burns has shown a consistency this season on sprint distances, with a 7th place in Cape Town and a 18th in Abu Dhabi, under really challenging conditions. With her will be Chelsea Sodaro, really powerful when it comes to the run, and Tamara Gorman, the U23 World Champion, always one to watch on tough sprint races.
Ones to watch will be Canadians Joanna Brown, who didn’t manage to finish the race in WTS Abu Dhabi but is always a great competitor, along with compatriot Dominika Jamnicky. And it will be a great opportunity to see one of triathlon’s best athletes, Hall of Fame inductee Vanessa Fernandes (POR).
The men’s roster is stacked full of men who have the World Cup podium experience, including a few of them who have never take the gold at a World Cup level, meaning for one of them that could change this weekend.
After winning the first World Cup of the year on his hometown and managing to finish 10th in WTS Abu Dhabi last week, South African Richard Murray will surely be putting a battle against the local stars in Mooloolaba, trying to get ready for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Murray, as well as Ryan Sissons (NZL), managed to cross the finish line in Abu Dhabi despite crashing both in the bike course and will be trying to grab some points in Mooloolaba, in a course that fits them both extremely well, with a hilly run course.
Against them, the Aussies led by Aaron Royle and bronze medallist at the U23 world Championships in 2017 Luke Willian. Australian Ryan Bailie and Kiwi Sam Ward will be also among the ones to watch, with great biking skills and powerful swims.
Also good training for the Commonwealth Games will be for Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk, one of the breakout stars in Abu Dhabi, after managing to break away in the extremely dangerous and technical bike course in Abu Dhabi to finish in 11th place. Spaniard Vicente Hernandez is another great specialist on sprint distances, and surely one that will be battling for podium positions.
Find more details about this event - 2018 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup