Mexico pins triathlon hopes on Rivas and Grajales as Cancun hosts final 2012 ITU event
Thursday, 04 October 2012
October 4 - Triathlete Claudia Rivas will seek to become the first Mexican to win a World Cup race in her home coastal city of Cancun when it hosts the final race of the 2012 International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Cup season on Sunday (October 7).
Although the ITU has not raced in Cancun since 2007 – when the men's race was won by Canada's Olympic gold and silver medallist Simon Whitfield and the women's race went to Julie Ertel of the United States – the city has hosted two ITU World Championships and nine World Cup events over the years.
Mexico is also the only country to host two ITU events in the same year, with the city of Huatulco having organised a World Cup earlier in the season.
Home hopes will be raised following Rivas' performance in Huatulco where she claimed bronze and secured her place at the London 2012 Olympics, where she finished 21st.
The flat course in Cancun is suited to Rivas' strengths, making her Mexico's best hope for a podium.
Rivas will face a number of World Cup medallists on the day, including Flora Duffy of Bermuda, who also has fond memories of Mexico and will start as favourite in Cancun.
Duffy and Rivas battled in Huatulco where Duffy ran to her first World Cup title under high temperatures.
Canada's Kathy Tremblay, who started the 2012 season in spectacular form with a win at the Ishigaki World Cup and a top 10 finish in Sydney, will be a face to watch out for at the finish.
World Cup regulars Rebecca Robisch of Germany and Elizabeth Bravo of Ecuador will also look for their first World Cup podium.
After winning the opening round of the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Series in Sydney and recording a third-place finish in the sprint distance in Hamburg, Germany's Steffen Justus is a strong favourite in the men's race.
Kyle Jones of Canada has also had success at a World Cup sprint, claiming gold on home soil in Edmonton.
As in Colombia, Manuel Huerta of the United States will be a top name to challenge, while fellow American Jarrod Shoemaker showcased his threatening sprint speed at the Edmonton World Cup earlier this year with a third-place finish.
Like Rivas, Crisanto Grajales has the opportunity to become the first male Mexican to earn gold in Cancun.
Grajales proved his shape recently when he claimed his first ITU World Cup title in Guatape with a last-minute dash for the finish.
He was also successful in the sprint distance in Guatape last year, suggesting his sprint skills could be on par in Mexico.