Vina del Mar to offer the last Olympic points of the year
The last stop of the World Triathlon Cup circuit this year will take athletes to Vina del Mar, Chile, for a Sprint distance race that will see Olympic medalists, World Champions and some rising stars of the sport chasing the last Olympic qualification points of the year.
It will be three American women leading the start list for this Sunday’s final World Triathlon Cup of the season, with Katie Zaferes wearing the one, followed by Gwen Jorgensen and Gina Sereno.
There will also be three Olympic medallists lining up in Vina del mar this Sunday: Katie Zaferes (USA) -bronze in the individual race at Tokyo 2020 and silver at the Mixed Relay-; Gwen Jorgensen (USA), gold at the Rio 2016 Games and Vicky Holland (GBR), bronze also in Rio 2016. The three of them have returned to competition this season after giving birth, and the three of them trying to scale back to the leading positions on the Olympic qualification rankings and guarantee a spot on the USA’s Olympic team for Paris 2024.
For Jorgensen, Vina del Mar would be her seventh World Cup this season, and she has podiumed at five of them, including a victory at Valencia, Karlovy Vary and Tongyeong World Cups. Meanwhile, Zaferes has raced a few more World Triathlon Championship Series events this year, and her results on that circuit -5th place in Montreal was her best result this year- plus a couple of podiums at World Cup level have put her currently in fifth place amongst the USA women on the World Rankings, which grants her a spot on the start list of the first WTCS races next year.
Vicky Holland was the latest female athlete to return to competition after giving birth, just a month ago, and when her first child is not even one year old, and seems to be back in shape. She finished in 7th place on her debut at the Tangier World Cup, and is ready to close this season with a fourth World Cup here in Vina del Mar.
Quite a few athletes lining up this Sunday will have the experience of having raced in the same course just a week ago, for the Pan American Games, and will be trying to use that experience in their favor. Erica Hawley (BER) -4th at the PanAm, her best ever result- is ready for the second round, this time shorter, and also looking for a better performance in Chile would be Emy Legault (CAN), Djenyfer Arnold (BRA) or Luisa Baptista (BRA).
The battle in Vina del Mar would be one for the records, with a Sprint distance course similar to the one used for the Pan American Games, with a 750m swim in one lap on the chilly and wavy Pacific Ocean water, to be followed by three laps on a tough and technical bike course that has a hill that will test all the athletes, to then finish with a flat and fast 5km run along the El Sol beach.
Unlike to what happened at the Pan American Games, where the field was stacked with uber swimmers like Lizeth Rueda or Vittoria Lopes, the race this Sunday is more liked to be a suitable one for the likes of Zaferes, Holland or Mathilde Gaultier (FRA), who will likely be looking to get out of the water with a bit of a margin and try to break away from the group on the bike.
Tough and technical, the bike course is ideal for strong bikers like the mentioned Zaferes, Dominika Jamnicky (CAN), Holland, Djenyfer Arnold or Elizabeth Bravo (ECU), who will be determined to make an impact on the race to avoid arriving to the second transition with fast runners like Jorgensen or Anahi Alvarez (MEX).