Guatape, Colombia (September 4, 2012) - One of the toughest courses on the ITU Triathlon World Cup schedule is just days away from action. With a hill spanning nearly two kilometers long set at an altitude of 6300 feet, the 2012 Guatape ITU Triathlon World Cup will push athletes to the limit. While torrential downpours and a mudslide forced race officials to shorten the course to sprint distance in 2011, the original Olympic distance course returns this year to give athletes twice the challenge.
Colombia capitalized on its home soil advantage, as Colombian athletes will make up the majority of the start lists in both the women's and men's races, which will showcase a strong display of Central and South American talent.
Guatape hosted the first ITU World Cup in Colombia 16 years ago. Located on the outskirts of Medellin, the Guatape World Cup has earned a reputation as one of the most daring courses on the ITU schedule. The bike course is essentially void of flat stretches, with the athletes either ascending lengths as long as two kilometres, or descending down hills with scenic views of the coastal area. While the race was reduced to a sprint in 2011 due to a mudslide, the full Olympic distance returns this year to give athletes double the trouble.
The Guatape World Cup will showcase some of Pan America's strongest talent, especially that of Latin American countries. In the women's race, there are just three athletes entered from non-Latin American countries. In the men's race, the entire start list hails from Central and South America. The sport of triathlon has grown tremendously in this geographic region in the last several years, and elite races such as this provide the opportunity to springboard careers.
With a bike course that favours strong cyclists and many of the top faces in ITU racing missing from the start list, the women's race is open for the taking. Maria Czesnik (POL), is coming off an Olympic start in London and will wear No. 1 in Guatape. Jodie Stimpson (GBR), who is the sole women's entry for Great Britain, could capitalize on this race to take her first World Cup title. Maria Isabel Escudero, who has proven fierce as a junior with numerous top five finishes in Pan American races, will add Guatape to her resume as an elite and could be a dangerous question mark. Alia Cardinale Villalobos, the winner of the 2012 Santiago ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup and South American Championships, also cannot be discounted.Lina Maria Raga and Carolina Grimaldo lead the Colombians. Raga was the top Colombian in 2011 and while Grimaldo did not have a top place, she has experienced repeated success in various events in Guatape.
The men's start list hosts a trio of London competitors. However, Colombia's own Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero, who became the first person to represent the country in the Olympics this year, is not amongst them. Mexico's Crisanto Grajales, who experienced great success on the tough course last year with a silver-medal finish, will again appear in the race hunting for gold this time around. He will face severe opposition from fellow Olympian Leonardo Chacon (CRC), who is a fierce competitor on the bike. U.S. Olympian Manuel Huerta, a strong competitor in Pan American races, is also familiar to this race, having finished in the top-10 last November.
Sunday 9 September - 07:00am UTC/GMT +5
Sunday 9 September - 10:00am UTC/GMT +5