Huelva ready to hosts its first ever World Cup
The city of Huelva, in the south west coast of Spain, will make its official debut in the ITU World Cup circuit hosting this Sunday. As the city celebrates the 525th anniversary of Christopher Columbus setting sail from the river port of Palos de la Frontera on his first voyage that lead to the discovery of America, triathletes will compete in the first ITU event after the 2017 Grand Final on one of the most challenging and emblematic courses of the season.
A total of 60 men and 41 women will dive in the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean in Punta Umbría for a two lap swim, to then mount their bikes and cover the 20 km between the coast and the Huelva city centre. After a flat first 20km, triathletes will then do four laps of 5,1km on a really technical, demanding and hilly course, passing four times through the terrific “Cuesta de las tres caídas”.
The run course will see athletes passing by the most emblematic places of the city, doing four laps of 2,5 km each, a bit hilly in the first section, almost flat in the second.
Wearing number 1 will be Spanish athlete Vicente Hernandez, who just finished 12th on the Rotterdam Grand Final. In his second season among the top triathletes of the world, Hernandez will race for his first podium of the season on a World Cup, with the extra motivation of racing on home soil. But the task won’t be so easy.
Indeed the Spanish team will be one of the strongest in Huelva, with three more usual suspects in the World Cup circuit: Antonio Serrat Seoane, who finished 5th in the U23 World Championship last week in Rotterdam; David Castro Fajardo, former U23 World Champion, and Uxio Abuin, winner of the last two world cups in the 2016 season.
Another one to watch will surely be Frenchman Leo Bergere, who initiated an impressive breakaway performance on the bike in Rotterdam to finish in 6th place. The current ITU Aquathlon World Champion, Matthew Sharpe (CAN), is probably one of the strongest swimmers in the field, and will surely be in the race from from the start fighting for the podium.
Other big names will be Kevin McDowell (USA), Adam Bowden (GBR) or Justus Nieschlag (GER), who will most likely try to get hold of the big opportunity a World Cup brings right after the Grand Final, with some of the usual names on the podiums either taking some rest or competing elsewhere.
A fifth place in the Rotterdam Grand Final earned Canadian Joanna Brown a 7th position in the overall WTS rankings, best of the career for the young talented 25 year old. An impressive season which included two world cup podiums (Cagliari and New Plymouth) as well as two 4th places in WTS races, Stockholm and Montreal, which has her as a favourite to claim a first ever victory in Huelva.
Two Americans will try to get on her way, Chelsea Burns and Reneé Tomlin. Burns, third in the Madrid World Cup in May 2017, is really used to challenging and demanding bike courses as the one athletes will face in Huelva, while Tomlin feels very comfortable in tight technical courses following her win in Tiszaujvaros.
Juko Takahashi (JPN) and Vendula Frintova (CZE) will be among ones to follow next Sunday, along with Leonie Periault (FRA) and Lindsay Jerdonek (USA). On the local side, Anna Godoy Contreras, Camila Alonso, Ines Santiago and Sara Perez Sala will by vying for their first world cup podiums, which might be a reality in Huelva with the home town support.
The 2017 ITU Huelva World Cup Elite Women race will take place on Sunday 24 September at 9am CET, while the Elite Men will take place at 12.15 CET. You can follow all the action on triathlon.org/live and on our social media channels, with the hashtag #HuelvaWC.