The 2011 wraps up this weekend, with a return to one of the strongest triathlon nations in the world. From the first ITU World Champion, Erin Baker, to Hamish Carter, Samantha Warriner, Bevan Docherty and Andrea Hewitt, New Zealand just keeps producing world-conquering triathletes.
Now the ITU World Cup series returns to New Zealand for the first time since 2008, and returns to Auckland for the first time since 1998. Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city and the Queens Wharf waterfront one of its most lively areas. It became even more so in the last two months, when it was home to the Rugby World Cup fan zone, which finished just last month with New Zealand’s own All Blacks claiming the title. Now, triathlon gets it chance to shine right in Auckland’s CBD, with this event the perfect dress rehearsal for next year’s Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final.
The course starts with two-lap 1.5km lake swim in a sheltered area next to Queen’s Wharf, before an eight-lap technical and hilly 40km bike course. From the waterfront, the cycle leg takes athletes through the CBD, and up and down the steep Queen St. The course finishes with four-lap 10km run.
Elite Women’s Preview
Andrea Hewitt finished the 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series in incredible style, pulling out a dominant performance to win the biggest race of the year at the Beijing Grand Final. Then, just 10 days after that epic battle with ITU World Champion Helen Jenkins, Hewitt did it again in Yokohama. Those two performances mean she is the female triathlete to beat right now, and therefore it’s hard to back against Hewitt in a place where she is sure to have crowd support.
Elite Men’s Preview
The 11-strong New Zealand men’s team will no doubt be keen to take out the win at home in what’s been a lean year. Only two-time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty has won a world cup race, in Edmonton, and not one has made the podium of a Dextro Energy Triathlon Series race. Docherty will lead the charge here, alongside world cup winner Kris Gemmell and up and comers James Elvery, Clark Ellice, Ryan Sissons and Tony Dodds leading the way. Docherty will also be keen for a good result, to keep ahead of Canada’s Kyle Jones in the ITU Olympic rankings and make sure New Zealand men qualify three spots for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 2011 Auckland ITU World Cup gets underway when the elite women’s race starts at 12.00noon (local time) on Sunday 20 November, followed by the men’s race from 2.45pm. Follow every movement live through Triathlon’s live timing and text updates, at www.triathlon.org/live.
Photo Credit: ITU