Gold Coast returns to ITU World Triathlon Series this weekend
The Australia’s Gold Coast has already witnessed plenty of triathlon history. It hosted just the third ITU World Championships in 1991, before becoming the first Grand Final host when the World Triathlon Series made its debut in 2009. Now the host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games is back on the Series circuit this weekend, and all of the top ranked athletes are out to play.
Headlining the women's race will be the formidable American Gwen Jorgensen. It has almost been a full calendar year since she was beaten in a World Triathlon Series race, having won the last seven consecutive races for a total of 10 WTS wins. In the men's race, the top ranked Jonathan Brownlee, Javier Gomez and Mario Mola will all line up.
Photos - Sportzhub
Gold Coast served as the first Grand Final World Championship race for the ITU World Triathlon Series when the WTS first began back in 2009. That meant the race was the first World Championships which saw the world titles won over the course of the season in lieu of a one-day hit out race. With 70km of coastline, the "surfer's paradise" is also the perfect location for a triathlon. This weekend will see not only the elites compete, but also offers three different triathlons for athletes of all ages and abilities to get involved in the sport.
Swim (1.5km) - Athletes will start at the Broadwater Parklands and will swim two anti-clockwise laps.
Bike (40km) - The bike is an eight-lap bike flat and technical bike course heading Carey Park and then turning for a trip through Southport before an out and back loop along Gold Coast Hwy.
Run (10km) - The run consists of a four-lap, 10km course that circles around the Aquatic Centre, Anzac Park and Broadwater Parklands.
It has almost been a full calendar year since Gwen Jorgensen was beaten in a World Triathlon Series race. Since Cape Town in 2014, where she finished third, the reigning World Champion has collected seven consecutive race titles. That has taken her career tally to 10 total World Triathlon Series wins. Only Vanessa Fernandes has enjoyed a longer winning streak in women's ITU racing history.
Aussies gear up
Expect the crowd to warmly welcome back London Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham. Injury and illness have interrupted her past two seasons, and 2015 was then rudely interrupted by a nasty bike crash just last month, but she is back on the start list for the Queensland event. The course also holds special significance for Australia’s Emma Moffatt, as she won the race when it was last held in 2009, which earned her the overall world championship crown.
Open hunting for men
Though as we have seen in the past year, this weekend’s race is not likely to be a sole Brownlee versus Gomez affair. Fernando Alarza has proved he’s a threat in the past two seasons and will start with the number three, Mario Mola starts with the number four and was the winner in Abu Dhabi. Mola has fond memories of Gold Coast, having beat out Brownlee when then were juniors over a sprint course for the Junior World Championship title. The start list also includes WTS winners such as Richard Murray and Joao Silva. So far the French men’s team have had an excellent start to 2015, with Vincent Luis taking third in Abu Dhabi and Pierre Le Corre third in Auckland. Watch for both on the Gold Coast.
Jackie Fairweather Tribute
The women’s start list will begin with the No. 2, as the No. 1 spot will be left open as a tribute to the remarkable Jackie Fairweather, who passed away in November of 2014. While Jorgensen is ranked first in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, she will sport No. 2, with the golden bike rack also left open in transition to remember Fairweather and her great contributions to the sport of triathlon. Fairweather was an ITU World Champion, Hall of Fame nominee, board member, high performance manager, coach & event commentator. She was also an accomplished runner, having won bronze at the Commonwealth Games for Australia in 2002.
New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt who placed 2nd overall in the 2011 World Championship Series is the top Kiwi contender fresh from her third in Auckland, joined by Simone Ackerman and Rebecca Clarke. The men are represented by Tony Dodds who mixed it with the worlds best during the cycle in Auckland and Ryan Sissons.
PAST GOLD COAST WINNERS
2009 ITU World Triathlon Series
Emma Moffatt (AUS) Alistair Brownlee (GBR)
2009 Under23 ITU World Championships
Hollie Avil (GBR) Franz Loeschke (GER)
2009 Junior ITU World Championships
Emmie Charayron (FRA) Mario Mola (ESP)
Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)
WTS ranking: 1
1st – 2015 ITU World Triathlon Auckland
1st – 2014 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm
2nd – 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Mario Mola (ESP)
WTS ranking: 4
1st - 2015 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi
2nd - 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton
4th - 2014 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm
Dan Wilson (AUS)
WTS ranking: 13
12th – 2015 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi
13th – 2014 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm
9th – 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth