A lot is on the line at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara on October 23. As I mentionned in a previous post, the winner gets an automatic spot at the Olympic Games. Though, it is a spot for his country, not necesseraly for himself or herself…
The USA has a strong team down there and they seems to be in a good position to be contenders for both men and women titles. Matt Chrabot will try to defend his 2010 Continental Champion Title earned at the same race. He recently won the Huatulco World cup in similar hot and humid condition. He has the reputation to do very well in those kind of races and loves to train for them. Mark Fretta and Manny Huerta will complete the team. As we know, Hunter Kemper will not be part of the dance because of a crash caused by a lapped athlete at Myrtle Beach Pan Am Cup.
BUT, we have two hungry canadians who probably really wants to get the job done. Kyle Jones and Brent McMahon will defend our colours. For Kyle, the last two races in Beijing and Yokohama has not been what he was looking for. The guy was on a very good streak this year. 4th at Edmonton, 12th in Hamburg WCS, 19th in London WCS. Things just were not rolling good for him after that. That’s why I think he is the most dangerous guy in the field. He needs a good race and the conditions suits him. Remember his early season 3 wins in a row made in similar hot/humid conditions (Ixtapa, Amakusa, Weihai).
Brent McMahon is really showing he wants to go to the Olympic Games after missing Le Grand Rendez-vous in 2008. Things started slowly for him in 2011. His first race in 18months was a 10km in Victoria and he posted a 32:ishh… time… 8-10 month later, he was winning in Hungary…This is a true comeback. The reason why he is dangerous in this race is because of his swim-bike habilities. He could get away early on or even make this race really hard on the bike if he is in the peloton.
The podium will probably be played between Jones, McMahon and Chrabot but we could see Huerta (USA), Chacon (Costa-Rica), Grajales (MEX), Garza (MEX) and Colluci (BRA) in the mix.
Jason Wilson from Barbabos, who trains with Craig Taylor in Guelph, is also there, trying to qualify his country for the games. For the moment, the spot for the « New flag » is taken by Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero from Columbia, but Wilson is not far behind…
On the women side, USA is sending an « A Team ». Sarah Groff, Laura Bennett and Gwen Jorgensen will try to secure the spot for their country. The later one is doing well in hot condition. Her 5th place in Huatulco 2010, and Monterey 2011 proves the fact. The only real threat for the Americans is Barbara Riveros Diaz. She had a good season but with a 44th place in Beijing, we cannot predict what kind of performance she will have.
Kathy Tremblay will be the only canadian in the race. Her fitness is there but things are not rolling her way so far this year. Hopefully, this race will be the best of the year for her. She worked very hard this winter and things may pay off now. Go Kathy !
Another girl to watch is Flora Duffy from Bermuda. She could get away with Bennett and Groff, two girls we will probably see on the podium.
The race is on October 23. 8h00 AM (local time) for the women and 11h00 AM (local time) for the men.