(London Agust 1, 2012) The triathlon competition at the Olympics has produced its fair share of surprises in its first three appearances, and it could happen again in 2012. While there are some notable favourites in the women’s triathlon event London, like dual ITU world champions Helen Jenkins (GBR) and Emma Moffatt (AUS), two-time 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series race winners Erin Densham (AUS) and Nicola Spirig (SUI) and consistently brilliant Andrea Hewitt (NZL), the women’s field is interesting in just how many women could stand on top of the Olympic podium.
One thing for sure is the 1.5km swim in the Serpentine is crucial to the way the race plays out. Germany’s Anne Haug said, “I think the London race will be a very very fast swim, maybe the fastest swim we’ve ever had,” and Densham also said it could be a deciding factor.
“The swim is going to play a big role,” Densham said. “They have said before you can’t win the race in the swim but you can definitely lose it. Honestly there is no knowing how it’s going to go but it’s going to be hard and fast.”
The start will be from a pontoon on the north side of the Serpentine and athletes will dive in for one long 1.5km lap. Expect Great Britain’s Lucy Hall, one of the sport’s best swimmers, to set the pace and Jenkins, Hewitt and Densham to follow closely behind her as they have done for the past six months. Other strong swimmers who can be expected to be in the lead group include USA’s Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff, Great Britain’s Vicky Holland, France’s Jessica Harrison and Brazil’s Pamela Oliveira.
Another important element to watch is where Spirig and her Swiss teammate Daniela Ryf will come out of the water. While Spirig is one of the major medal contenders, she isn’t known for her swimming ability. If she does exit the swim in the second or third pack though, she has the ability to not only drag herself but everyone else up with her and Ryf is also a powerful cyclist.
The athletes then hit the seven-lap bike leg, which is slightly longer than the regular Olympic distance at 43km, which is flat and technical. In last year’s London event a lead group of 34 athletes were eventually caught before T2, but a bike breakaway can’t be discounted given the men’s race last year where one did stick.
If the race comes down to the four-lap technical 10km run, expect strong runners like Gwen Jorgensen (USA), Anja Dittmer (GER), Emma Jackson (AUS), Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI), Lisa Norden (SWE), Aileen Morrison (IRL), Rachel Klamer (NED), Ainhoa Murua (ESP), Ai Ueda (JPN), Juri Ude (JPN) and Anne Haug (GER) to come into calculations. Jorgensen clocked the fastest run split in last year’s London race and finished second overall, while Dittmer turned on her killer sprint to finish third. Jackson finished fourth overall and was just the third woman to run under 34 minutes on the course. Paula Findlay (CAN) also can’t be discounted, while she has yet to compete an ITU race in 2012 due to injury, she is the equal most successful woman in ITU World Triathlon Series history, with five titles to her name and a killer run.
Photo Credit: ITU Triathlon