It’s going to be “fast and furious” with some very close racing. That was the prediction of race director Gary Marescia and leading international triathletes yesterday as they contemplated this weekend’s Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town.This year the elite event – to be held at the V&A Waterfront and Green Point on Sunday – will be raced over the sprint distance. A 750m swim at the Waterfront will be followed by a 20km cycle and 5km run and the top athletes are expected to blitz the course in around 52 minutes.
Every year, three of the nine World Triathlon Series events are scheduled as sprints instead of the standard distance. Marescia said the Cape Town course could accommodate both disciplines and next year the elite race could be back to the standard distance.Spain’s world number one, Mario Mola, renowned for his lightning fast running over the sprint distance, said at a press conference in Cape Town yesterday that the racing would be close but he would be going for a win: “That’s the reason why we are here … but 64 others are also trying their best,” he smiled.
Mola started the year in excellent form, winning the first two races in the World Triathlon Series (WTS) and is aiming for a hat trick.His main challenge might come from fellow countryman and world number two Fernando Alarza or France’s Vincent Luis who is normally very quick on the running leg.
The top ranked woman competitor in the field and world number two, Flora Duffy of Bermuda commented that the shorter distance meant athletes would likely take a less tactical approach.Duffy spends half her year training in Stellenbosch and “it is really cool to race in Cape Town where I feel like I have a hometown advantage, hopefully I’ll make it on to the podium.”
A trio of excellent British riders – last year’s Cape Town winner Vicky Holland, Non Stanford and Jodie Stimpson – will also be competing in the elite female race.Additional excitement stems from the fact that it is an Olympic year and this is the second last chance for hopeful competitors to secure their qualification for Rio in August.South African Gillian Sanders is one of those looking forward to putting in a big performance on Sunday: “I want to go out there and do South Africa proud. There is no feeling like racing in your home country and having your family and friends there.”
Another local triathlete in the men’s field, Wian Sullwald, added that triathletes travel to all corners of the world and “racing in a familiar place makes the job so much easier”.Sadly South Africa’s leading male triathlete Richard Murray had a crash on the bike course at the previous World Triathlon Series event in Australia breaking his clavicle and bones in his hand. Speaking at press conference he confirmed he is recovering well and aiming for a peak performance at the Olympics.The Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town, along with the Discovery Duathlon Cape Town, forms part of a weekend festival of multisport in the Mother City. With both events over the same weekend, it’s the ideal opportunity to get active with friends and family. The Discovery Duathlon takes place on Saturday, April 23, and its run-cycle-run format is aimed at newcomers to multisport events and families or people looking for an enjoyable athletic outing. The Discovery World Triathlon, for elite and accomplished athletes, takes place on Sunday, April 24, and includes a schools challenge. The route takes competitors around the V&A Waterfront and Green Point, with the Green Point Athletic Stadium providing an excellent venue for fans to get a good view of the thrilling racing.