Here we go with the first installment of ITU previews for Trimes.org. These pre + post discussions will offer up insight pre-race and a debriefing grounds post race. Comments are encouraged, think of it as your ITU forum. The plan is to follow the WTS and perhaps WC circuits with both Male and Female analysis.
This weekend Kitzbuhel celebrates 5 years hosting a WC/WTS event in the alpine town nestled in the Austrian Alps. With no Olympic points on the line, this event will gauge fitness for most and provide feedback into what final preperations need to be assessed into London. There are also a host of athletes not Olympic bound but chasing the series and/or looking to breakout onto the world stage.
Startlist can be found here
Excitement is building around this one. We have the return of Alistair (GBR), Frodeno (GER), and Luis (FRA), the rise of Verzbicas (USA), Gomez (ESP) with just one 2012 ITU event under his belt, and all the podium performers from the first three rounds of the WTS.
After a ridiculous airmile accumulation from Jan-May we see Varga (SVK) taking a pass on Kitzbuhel. This is unfortunate, as we will not get a preview of the potential swim break in London. Without the Slovak, chances are this swim should stay together. Often border line temps for wetsuit, it shouldn’t make a difference to the string of athletes exiting the water. Where breaks in the chain could occur is in T1. The Brownlees will undoubtedly kill this section of the race and look to establish a break. Take a jacked up young Austrian in Knabl (AUT) to lead out for glory.
Out of T2 the Brits must be looking to test out the role of Hayes (GBR) over this bike. Look for a group of perhaps a dozen to really get things rolling early on this course of 8 laps.
With Verzbicas, Justus (GER), Mola (ESP), Vidal (FRA) and Murray (RSA) showing good running form as of late, the front group will be motivated to get away from the main chase. Without the likes of Macca, Wild (SUI), Butterfield (BER), Pais (POR) in the chase, it may be lights out if the group does not contribute and work effectively to reel in the leaders early.
Perhaps though we see the Brownlees looking to test their run legs against the aforementioned runners. Maybe they hold their swim/bike cards for London and let things come together to gauge their run speed? All will be revealed Sunday:)
I feel we see the Brownlees et al. continue to do what they love, hammer time, all the time. Off the bike the lead group will look to have a minute.
*Note: The WTS has introduced a new Prime system for the remainder of the WTS series, see here:
2. THE SYSTEM FOR AWARDING THE 2012 WTS PRIME IS:
2.1 Breakaway Group: A maximum of 6 athletes can qualify as a « breakaway group ». (If there are 7 or more athletes in the lead/breakaway group, the prime will not be awarded and will carry to the next event.)
2.2 Main Group: The group with the biggest number of athletes at the dismount line. (If there are two or more groups with the same maximum number, the first of these groups will qualify as a main group.)
2.3 Lapse Time to Main Group: The lapse time is recorded at the dismount line of the second transition. (Lapse time is measured based on the first athlete of each group at the dismount line.)
a) For an Olympic distance event the minimum lapse time is 50 seconds;
b) For a sprint distance event the minimum lapse time is 30 seconds.
2.4 The race Referee will decide on the exceptional circumstances that might lead to a member(s) dropping out of the breakaway group.
2.5 Athletes need to finish the race to be eligible for the prime.
3. PRIME AMOUNTS:
3.1 The amount of the prime will be $5,000 USD per gender per event. The amount will be split equally among the members of the breakaway group finishing the race.
3.2 If a breakaway group does not develop with the required lapse time, the prime will not be awarded and the money will be added to the same gender of the next event.
3.3 If there is money to carry over after the four events, there will be a prime for the Grand Final. Otherwise there will be none. If there is money to carry over after the Grand Final, the amount will go to the first WTS event of 2013.
On the run the front group will quickly filter out. I see the Brownlees, Gomez, and perhaps the trio of Brukhankov, Polyanskyy, and Hauss running together for maybe 2.5k. After the first little gaps may start to occur. I think it should be quite an interesting run as Alistair may not have quite the run fitness to put it away. Do we see Jonathan hold back with his brother or take his first 1up over big brother over the Olympic distance?
Over the line I think we see:
Podium: J.Brownlee, A.Brownlee, Gomez
Darkhorse: Buckingham (GBR)
Startlist can be found here
In the womens field we see a different turnout. A lot of the top athletes have taken a pass on Kitzbuhel. Top seed Hewitt (NZL) will be looking to nab her first WTS win of the 2012 campaign, although, Diaz (CHI), Morrison (IRL) and Jorgensen (USA) will have the same approach. Spirig (SUI) is coming off a very strong performances in Madrid + 70.3 Zurich and is the clear favourite. Norden (SWE) makes her 2012 debut, should be interesting to see where her fitness is at considering the tear she went on late in 2011.
With not a lot of swimming prowess in this field expect a slower bunch swim to form. Leading out will likely be Groff (USA) or Harrison (FRA). Take Harrison.
Spirig will be up with the leaders out of the water. Instead of doing the chasing these days, her improved swim has allowed her to apply the pressure. Early in the bike we could see her break things up with the stronger cyclist following. I still don’t think the course is tough enough however to get a group away in this field.
The likes of Gentle (AUS), Sheedy-Ryan (AUS), and Ueda (JPN) will be borderline on making the lead group. Gentle being the key one here should be strong enough to bridge the small gap she may face.
Maybe we see a small group get away later on in the ride but without any major contenders.
Into T2 together, the group will get out on the 10k run in a large group. I think we see 6-8 (Spirig, Hewitt, Morrison (IRL), Jorgensen, Gentle, Holland (GBR) etc.) running together for the better part of it. Near the closing stages I think we see a bit of an upset.
Podium: Morrison, Spirig, Jorgensen