Winter Triathlon World Champs to be crowned in Asiago
The Italian town of Asiago, in the Altipiano region, will be once again the best possible scenario for the Winter Triathlon World Championships, with 193 participants from 21 different countries and with 8 national teams competing in the 2x2 Mixed Relay. With a weather forecast of low temperatures and sunny bright skies, this weekend Elite, U23, Junior, Paratriathletes and almost 300 Age Groupers will compete in the 2020 Asiago ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships, with Russians Pavel Andreev and Daria Rogozina looking to defend the titles they won there 12 months ago.
For the second consecutive year, all the races will ve contested in the Centro di Fondo Campolongo, in Altopiano di Asiago, one of the most fascinating areas in the Venetian mountains. With an average altitude of 1500 meters, the snow arrives abundantly every winter, and is the perfect location for competitions and training of cross-country ski, mountain bike and trail running, all around magnificent forests.
Athletes will start with four laps of 1,765km each of a run in the snow, to be followed by 12km bike ride also over the snow, to finish with 10km of cross-country skiing, while the Juniors will have to prove their skills in half these distances.
On the men’s side, a 28-man roster is set to compete in Asiago, combining Elite and U23 athletes, with Russia sending the largest delegation and with all eyes set on the man that will try to get his 8th World Title. Pavel Andreev is openly considered the king of Winter Triathlon, and he knows the Asiago course from last years, so he will be determined to get once again on top of the podium, especially after the great performance he showed in the debut of the Winter Triathlon World Cups in China at the beginning of the year.
His teammate and current silver medallist Dimitri Bregeda will be trying to overcome the bittersweet fourth place he got in Harbin a few weeks ago, but he will have some strong opponents coming also from the Russian team, like Pavel Yakimov -third in Harbin in January- or Evgeny Kirillov, always strong on the bike course. Along with them will indeed be Evgenii Evgrafov, second in Harbin even though he is still under 23 years old.
“I am very happy to be here in Asiago once again”, said Bregeda in the press conference before the races. “This is one of the best places I’ve ever seen for a winter triathlon competition. Last year in this same place I was second, I will try to do a bit better”, he explained.
But the home crowd favorites will be indeed the Italians, led by Giuseppe Lamastra and Daniel Antonioli. The veteran azzuros have been training for weeks in Asiago, know the course and the snow conditions perfectly well, and are vying to be in the World podium, which only Antonioli has ever made, back in 2016. They will have to keep an eye for Franco Pesavento, current U23 World Champion and gunning for his second consecutive gold in home soil.
“It is indeed a great honour for all of us Italians to compete her in Asiago”, said Lamastra. “I am very happy to be here, and it is fantastic to have the opportunity to compete in a World Championship at home, with our friends and family cheering for us, is something very special. Plus, the course is fabulous, and I really like the changes made so that we have more laps and pass more times through transitions. This means more spectacle for the spectators and for everybody”, he explained before the race.
Spaniard Peio Osoro has shown that he can be really strong if the conditions are not extremely cold. Viorel Palici (ROM) and Kristian Monsen (NOR) always show great displays in competition, and is likely to see them pushing hard in the bike course.
In the Elite women’s race, the battle will be fierce among the best two Russian winter triathletes: Daria Rogozina, current holder of the World and European crowns, and also winner of the Harbin Winter Triathlon World Cup, and Yulia Surikova, who was known as the WinterTri Queen, who returs to Asiago willing to go back on top of the podium. The younf Russian squad, led by Nadezhda Belkina and Svetlana Sokolova will be trying to demonstrate not only their strengh in the U23 field, but also will be trying to overpass their older competitors, as they all will be racing together.
Lining up with them will be some great names of Winter Triathlon and Cross Triathlon. Austrian Romana Slavinec who will be looking to improve her bronze medal last year, after collecting seven National titles and the World title when she was U23 in 2012. But she will have a strong opponent on local hero Sandra Mairhofer, who will try to improve her past performances and is gunning for her first ever world championships podium.
Another young Italian competing in Asiago this weekend will be Gaia Tormena, who has just joined the National team and will be competing in the Juniors race. “The course is perfect, even though there is not much snow. I hope for a great performance of the Italian athletes this weekend. Last year an athlete from Asiago gave us the gold medal in the junior race, and it will be hard to beat, but I will try my best. It will be hard. I am a great cyclist and a good skier, but there are great athletes older than me. Still, I hope to give it a try”, she said.
You can watch all the races of the 2020 ITU Asiago Winter Triathlon World Championships live on TriathlonLive
Elite and U23 Women - Saturday 9am
Elite and U23 Men - Saturday 11am
Junior Women - Saturday 13am
Junior Men - Saturday 13.05am
2x2 Mixed Relay - Sunday
Paratriathlon - Sunday
Age Group Winter Triathlon World Championships - Sunday