By Erin Greene on 19/03/14 at 10:49 am
After a blazing start to the ITU triathlon season last weekend, World Cup action continues with a second sprint race in New Plymouth, New Zealand. The event marks the return of the World Cup circuit to the Taranaki town for the first time since 2008, and is lined with triathlon heavyweights looking to test their fitness early in the year.
Elite Women: 12:00pm Sunday
Elite Men: 2:00pm
Follow the race live triathlon.org/live or on twitter @triathlonlive.
Live coverage will feature social media stream, live timing (with new favourite athlete feature) and text updates. There is no video coverage from this race.
After finishing the 2013 season as the second-ranked woman in the World Triathlon Series, Jodie Stimpson (GBR) will begin her season in New Plymouth as the headliner of the women’s start list. The Brit had a massive breakout last year, indicating she is one of the top names to watch this year.
Home country favourite Andrea Hewitt lines up for the second consecutive weekend after competing in Mooloolaba last Saturday. While Hewitt produced solid performances on the bike and run in Australia, she was missing from the lead pack out of the water, which is unexpected for the two-time Olympian.
Like Stimpson, Sarah Groff will get her season underway in New Plymouth. The American dabbled in various races last year, but with Olympic qualification beginning this season and the US women’s talent pool deepening, Groff looks primed to return to full competition.
After a rocking start to the 2013 season and a disappointing finish to the year, Maaike Caelers (NED) could feature if she is back to form. Similarly, the small but mighty pocket rockets Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) and Ai Ueda (JPN) pose serious threats. Set to step up to the WTS this year, Great Britain’s Lucy Hall will no doubt lead out of the water and onto the bike. But she’ll need to settle into the run if she wants to secure a solid position in her season opener.
Women’s start list
International start times for women’s race
Beijing – 07:00
Auckland – 12:00
London – 23:00 (Sat)
New York – 19:00 (Sat)
Los Angeles – 16:00 (Sat)
The men’s race will see the return of the Spanish inquisition with the dynamic duo of Javier Gomez and Mario Mola gearing up. This is the first ITU race of the season for World Champion Gomez, who won the World Cup race when it was last held in 2008. Meanwhile, Mola is hot off a win thanks to a speedy 13:55 run split last weekend in Mooloolaba.
Sven Riederer (SUI) will also be a top contender, as he challenged Mola early on the run in Mooloolaba and looks to be in shape early in the year. David Hauss (FRA), who has been training with Mola, returned to ITU racing in competitive form with a fourth-place finish Down Under.
Although Joao Silva (POR) wasn’t his usual speedster self on the run last weekend, don’t count the Portuguese powerhouse out. Before suffering an injury last year, he scored three WTS bronze medals. The amphibious Richard Varga (SVK) looks to get his first race underway in New Plymouth. After training with the Brownlees in the last few years, Varga’s cycling skills have improved dramatically meaning the sprint distance could be just enough field of play to get on a podium.
Kiwi Ryan Sissons will look to make an impression on the competition on home soil after a marked improvement in standings last year. Olympians Laurent Vidal (FRA), Brendan Sexton (AUS) and Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) haven’t produced big results in the last year, but don’t count them out this weekend.
Find more details about this event - 2014 New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup