Top women in Hobart

Top women in Hobart

By ITU Admin on 15/02/06 at 12:00 am

Three of the top 4 ranked women in the world are at the head of the professional women’s field in this Sundays SMF Hobart Oceania Cup Triathlon. The depth of this years Hobart field and the added intrigue of the build up to the Commonwealth Games will ensure racing of the highest quality.

Defending champion Emma Snowsill is the current world champion and her 2005 form entitles her to start favourite. She has emerged as the woman most likely to dominate the sport in a manner not seen since the days of Emma Carney. In Hobart Snowsill faces some exceptionally strong competition from triathletes who have proven they can win big events at the highest level.

Annabel Luxford finished 2005 as the number 1 ranked triathlete in the world following an outstanding year on the International Triathlon Union world cup circuit. Luxford was second at last year’s world championships and will race alongside Snowsill at the Commonwealth Games.

Who will join these two athletes in Melbourne will be on the mind of many when the race starts on Sunday following Loretta Harrop’s withdrawal from the Australian team. The contenders will be in Hobart and include Athens Olympian Rina Hill, Pip Taylor, Mirinda Carfrae and Leesa White.

Australia’s Commonwealth Games selection quandary will not be an issue for United States triathlete Laura Bennett. She was third behind Luxford and Snowsill at the 2005 world championships and is currently ranked number 4 in the world.

New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt is the reigning under 23 world champion and one of ten women in the field who will be representing their country in Melbourne. The women’s event has a genuine international flavour with 15 of the 33 athletes from overseas.

The professional women’s race will commence at 1 pm on Sunday.

Elite Men Preview

Five of the best Australian professional men will race in Hobart this Sunday and deciding on who might prevail is an exceptionally difficult task.

Commonwealth Games team members Peter Robertson, Brad Kahlefeldt and Greg Bennett will be strong contenders. Robertson is the current world champion, Bennett was 4th in Athens at the Olympic Games and Kahlefeldt was third to Robertson at the world titles.

It would not surprise to see defending Hobart champion and 2004 Olympian Simon Thompson or Courtney Atkinson who was a close second to Thompson in Hobart last year on the podium again in 2006.

Thompson and Atkinson may well prefer to attack on the technically challenging 8 lap bike course because they will be well aware of the finishing speed many of their rivals possess. Both are very fast runners themselves however they will have great respect for the tremendous running abilities of the Australian Commonwealth Games team members.

On form two New Zealand triathletes and one from England look the most likely to prevent an Australian trifecta in the professional men’s race.  Bevan Docherty won the silver medal for New Zealand at the Athens Olympic Games and is currently ranked 6th in the world and he will be joined by world number 8 Kris Gemmell.

The two Kiwis are genuine threats as is England’s Stuart Hayes winner of the 2005 London Triathlon. Hayes will also race in Melbourne. Hayes, Gemmell and Docherty are three of 10 Commonwealth Games representatives in a field of 46, which includes the full Canadian team lead by Brent McMahon.

Just over a third of the men’s field includes triathletes competing in the sports officially designated under 23 category and they will be keen to race well against established professionals.  The under 23 group includes the Australian Nathan Campbell who recently won the 2006 International Triathlon Union under 23 Oceania Championships.

The professional men’s race will commence at 3 pm.

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Find more details about this event - 2006 Hobart ITU Triathlon Oceania Cup