By Nick Butler

Winter Triathletes competing in New Zealand in 2011 ©Getty ImagesDecember 13 - Italian town Cogne will host the Winter Triathlon World Championships the second successive year following the success of the 2013 event, it was announced today.

The Championships are due mark the first of several global events held throughout 2014 in the sport and will bring together the three disciplines of running, mountain biking and cross country skiing.

Following last years event, and a 2002 version in Brusson, it will be the third occasion on which the Championships have been held in Italy and will continue a season of sport which began last week with the Winter Universiade in Trentino. 

"After such a successful event last year, it was a natural choice of us to return the Championships to Cogne," said International Triathlon Union (ITU) President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Marisol Casado.

"Cogne is an ideal location with its open terrain and winter weather conditions perfect for Winter triathlon."

Winter Triathlon substitutes swimming for cross country skiing ©Getty ImagesWinter triathlon substitutes swimming for cross country skiing ©Getty Images

In addition to the elite events, Cogne will welcome under-23, junior and Paratriathletes as well as age group competitors vying for a chance at becoming the next world champion in their respective divisions.

For elites and under-23 participants, event organisers have proposed a three-lap six kilometre run followed by a three-lap 12km bike, before a concluding three-lap 9km ski course.

Junior, Paratriathlon and age group athletes will compete on the same course as the elites, but over a shortened distance of 4km on the run, 8km on the bike and 6km skiing.

A mixed team relay will also take place covering distances of a two-lap 4km run, two-lap 6km mountain bike and a two-lap 5km skiing.

Due to the different requirements winter triathlon tends to be dominated by athletes from colder climates than the summer version with Central and Eastern European competitors particularly strong.

The two outstanding favourites to defend the titles they won on the same course last year will be Russia's three-time champion Pavel Andreev and Czech Republic's Helena Erbanova, winner for the last two years as well as a Winter Olympian in cross-country skiing.

The two-day Championships are due to begin on Saturday February 15.

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