Edmonton, Canada (5 July 2011) – The ITU World Cup series is returning to Edmonton after a four-year hiatus and it’s probably not a more appropriate time, as triathlon’s darling Paula Findlaycomes home to contest her hometown race.
Findlay grew up racing events at Hawrelak Park and this weekend she returns as No. 1 in the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, unbeaten in the world’s premier series this year, and the overwhelming favourite to claim her fourth title of 2011.
Canadian fans will also have plenty to cheer about in the elite men’s race, with double Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield racing at an event he’s already won twice, and the improving form of Kyle Jones and Brent McMahon. They will have to hold off the experience of two-time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty (NZL) and triple Olympian Hunter Kemper, (USA) who are both serious contenders for the podium. Click here for full race preview
About the race:
it’s fitting that the city is back on the World Cup circuit on the 10th anniversary of that event. But Edmonton also holds a special place in ITU World Cup history, in 20 years of World Cup races – only one race has ever had to be cancelled: Edmonton in 2004. After Loretta Harrop (AUS) won the women’s race, a wintery blast hit the city and the men’s race was called off. The event is the fourth World Cup event of 2011, and the only stop in Canada.
Elite Women – Sunday, July 10 – 1:30 pm (UTC/GMT -6) Click here for time in your area
Elite Men – Sunday, July 10 – 3:45 pm (UTC/GMT -6) Click here for time in your area
TOTAL PRIZE MONEY:
$50,000 USD (equal for men & women)
Swim – Two-lap, 1.5km swim in the Hawrelak Park Lake, with a standing sprint start.
Bike – Six-lap, 40km bike that starts in Hawrelak Park and includes a steep 400m hill and plenty of technical turns, including a sharp 180-degree turnaround after the athletes cross the North Saskatchewan River.
Run – Three-lap, 10km run also takes in part of the bike course, athletes head out from transition in the same direction – but only get a third of a way the way up that hill before turning around again, and then coming back through the park.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Paula Findlay races at home – Expect the streets to be packed and Canadian media to attend on mass to capture what is widely expected to be Findlay’s fourth title of the year. In the season opening World Cup race in Mooloolaba, Findlay finished fourth – before going on to stunning wins in Sydney, Madrid and Kitzbühel while re-writing the record books. Findlay is now the most successful woman in the history of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, with a total of five wins, all from her last six series races. If Findlay does win at home in Edmonton, she will be the first non-Australian or American winner. In the six World Cup races held in this city before, those two countries have dominated the podium. But it isn’t just Findlay that the Canadian crowd can look forward too, there is a host of medal contenders in both the men’s and women’s races. Double Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield is a two-time Edmonton winner, while Kyle Jones has won his last three ITU races; Continental Cups in China, Japan and Mexico.
New talent vs experienced vets – Some of the most experienced triathletes still competing on the ITU circuit right now will be in action in Edmonton. Among the men, it’s three-time Olympian & two-time Olympic medallist Whitfield, another double Olympic medallist in Docherty and three-time Olympian Kemper in the men’s race. In the women’s, there is three-time Olympian Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) – her streak made even more impressive given that only one other woman has raced in each Olympic Games so far. Kemper and Niwata are also in excellent form, Kemper won the Ishigaki World Cup and then podiumed at the event in Monterrey, while Niwata picked up bronze in Ishigaki and then won two Asian events in China. In the other corner is the up and coming young talent that are a chance to put their names on the podium, including Australia’s Ashleigh Gentle, the 2010 Junior World Champion, Israel’s Fanny Beisaron – who won team triathlon gold at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games and Great Britain’s Hollie Avil, a Junior and Under23 World Champion. In men’s elite race, Jason Wilson (BAR) and Ron Darmon (ISR) are ones to watch.
Team ITU’s second event of 2011 – A total of 10 different athletes from eight different national federations will compete in Edmonton as part of Team ITU: Christopher Felgate (ZIM) Jason Wilson (BAR), Carlos Quinchará (COL), Michel Gonzalez (CUB), Ron Darmon (ISR), Ognjen Stojanovic (SER), Elizabeth Bravo (ECU), Fanny Beisaron (ISR), Mateja Simic (SLO) and Yanitza Perez (CUB). Team ITU will race at three World Cups this year, the first was the season opener in Mooloolaba, then Edmonton and the final race in Auckland. Team ITU is an initiative of the ITU’s Sport Development Programme and offers support for athletes from developing and emerging national federations to race at the World Cup level. It includes funding for travel and accommodation and on race day, a world class support team that includes a physiotherapist and a bike mechanic.
Past Edmonton ITU World Cup winners
2007 Emma Moffatt (AUS) 1:57:52 Bevan Docherty (NZL) 1:45:54
2006 Emma Snowsill (AUS) 1:56:49 Hamish Carter (NZL) 1:47:33
2005 Emma Snowsill (AUS) 1:58:11 Andy Potts (USA) 1:46:30
2004 Loretta Harrop (AUS) Race cancelled due to weather
2003 Barbara Lindquist (USA) 1:57:30 Simon Whitfield (CAN) 1:47:07
2002 Siri Lindley (USA) 2:01:33 Simon Whitfield (CAN) 1:49:07