Olympic field announced for Hyde Park's London 2012 triathlon rehearsal
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
July 19 - A field of Olympic proportions has been announced, fittingly enough, for the World Championship triathlon that will take place on the proposed London 2012 course next month, with five Beijing medallists, two world champions and Britain's Brownlee brothers - Alistair (pictured) and Jonathan - on the entry lists, as well as Britain's former world champion Helen Jenkins.
Many nations view the Dextro Energy ITU series event as the ideal warm-up for the Olympic triathlon, which will take place on broadly the same course, swinging out of Hyde Park and circumnavigating Buckingham Palace.
The 2011 Hyde Park racing on August 6-7 will also offer spectators the opportunity of getting an early view of Olympic-style action free of charge.
"We expect up to 25,000 spectators per day watching the elite races," said the event director, Robert Puestow of Upsolut Sports UK.
But Olympic champions Jan Frodeno, of Germany, and Australia's Emma Snowsill are likely to find the event, presented by Tata Steel, a stern test of their hopes of a successful Olympic title defence a year out from the Games.
The 2011 Series leaders, Paula Findlay of Canada, and home favourite Alistair Brownlee will both be in the starting line-ups as will 2010 World Champions Javier Gomez of Spain and Emma Moffatt of Australia who is a Beijing bronze medallist.
"We have a stunning array of the world's top triathletes on show in London this year", Puestow said.
"The public will get a great opportunity to see the stars in action on the proposed Olympic course and thousands of enthusiastic triathletes will be able to follow their heroes' into action on both days in the age-group events.
"What other sport can offer this kind of experience of an Olympic-level event?"
The elite women's race is at 08.30 on Saturday 6 and the elite men's at 12.30 on Sunday 7, with BBC TV broadcasting the event live in the hope to top their viewing figures of 1.6 million from last year's event.
Findlay, 22, won the event last year as a newcomer to the top level and is taking the women's Series by storm this year after four Series wins already, whilst Brownlee, 23, won the London event in 2009 before being crowned World Champion in that year.
His younger brother, Jonathan, won silver last year in London- a breakthrough performance at senior level - and the Yorkshire siblings took a historic one-two on the Series podium in Madrid earlier this year.
Spain's Gomez could once more be one of the main threats to the British brothers in London.
The Spaniard won the event in 2010 and was third to the Brownlees on his home course in Madrid.
He races in Hamburg this weekend but the Brownlees have decided to give that race a miss.
The battle between these three men has been a feature of the Series already this year with Jonathan taking silver in Sydney behind Gomez.
The elite men's field also includes 2008 Olympic silver and bronze medallists, Simon Whitfield and Bevan Docherty of Canada and New Zealand respectively, and the women's field will include Chile's Barbara Riveros Diaz who is sitting second on the overall ranking lists this year ahead of Britain's Jenkins (pictured), currently ranked fifth, who won a bronze in London last year and who has already taken two Series silvers this year in Madrid and Kitzbuehel.
Britain's other entrants includes: Liz Blatchford, Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson in the women's race, and Stuart Hayes, Tim Don and Will Clarke in the men's event.
Organisers, Upsolut Sport UK, will set up grand stands for 1,500 spectators along the finish line on Serpentine Road.
Big screens will show the live TV pictures from all over the course.
Entry for spectators will be free of charge in 2011, whether in the grandstands or anywhere else on the course and there will be an expo on site with stalls and stands and other activities.
"The beauty of an event like this in an iconic Royal Park setting is that it showcases London to the world but also offers local people the opportunity to see a top Olympic sport in action free of charge.
"This year's route around Buckingham Palace will add to the drama and feel like a proper dress rehearsal," said Iain Edmondson of London and Partners.
January 2011: Shoe giants Clarks put best foot forward to sponsor Triathlon World Championship
January 2011: Brownlee targeting London 2012 Olympic qualification with stellar performances in Beijing and Hyde Park
December 2010: Olympic dress rehearsal for 2011 Hyde Park triathletes
October 2010: Triathlon chief heralds "dynamic" World Cup Series as 2011 schedule is announced
October 2010: Details of London 2012 triathlon test event revealed