Women’s Triathlon Olympic Preview

by World Triathlon Admin on 18 Aug, 2008 12:00

The years of training comes down to a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run at 10am on Monday when 55 women vie for Olympic glory in the women’s triathlon.  The competition has long been expected to be a showdown between Vanessa Fernandes (POR) and Emma Snowsill (AUS), the two premier runners in the sport.  But neither views themselves as the favourites.

“Every girl is talented.  I think any of the 55 women can be in the top three.  I’m not stronger than them, I’m just another girl to compete with them,” said Fernandes.

“There’s 54 other girls on the start line and they’re all a contender and they’re all somebody I’ve got to make sure I’m in close contact with throughout the whole race.  I certainly don’t think it’s the show that everybody thinks it is,” said Snowsill.

The field is deep and many will challenge for the podium, including Snowsill’s teammate Emma Moffatt (AUS), who many consider to be the complete package as a strong swimmer, biker and runner.  Swiss Nicola Spirig is perhaps the strongest cyclist in the women’s field and will be keen to break away on the tough bike course.  The big questions are whether Spirig can stay in the front group in the swim and which women will be able to keep pace with her on the bike. 

Laura Bennett (USA) finished third to Fernandes and Snowsill in the Beijing world cup last year and with four world championships medals to her credit, she’s always one to watch on a race day.  Sam Warriner (NZL) and Debbie Tanner (NZL) will challenge for a medal but both will need solid swims to use their bike and run skills for a strong finish. 

Defending Olympic gold medalist Kate Allen (AUT) had a remarkable 2008 just to qualify for the Olympic Games after suffering a horrific bike crash in the New Zealand world cup in April.  But with a one-lap continuous 1.5-kilometer swim and a non-wetsuit swim, Allen will need an excellent swim to stay among the leaders in the water.  But no one will discount her on the run course as one of the best runners in the sport, proving it Athens in 2004.

In the dark horse stable, Elizabeth May (LUX) could emerge as the surprise of the competition.  She loves the Beijing course and took bronze in the Beijing world cup in 2006.  Lisa Norden (SWE) proved she belongs among the top after two world cup podiums earlier this year and a bronze at the European championships.  In Australia earlier this year on the hot hilly course, she was just behind Snowsill and Fernandes.  World champion Helen Tucker (GBR) can’t be forgotten either but with a series of impressive results in the spring, the Brit may have peaked too early. 

Athletes to Watch - Elite Women:
Vanessa Fernandes (POR) - 20 world cup wins (ITU record), 2007 world champion, 5-time European champion, 2004 Olympian
Emma Snowsill (AUS) - 3-time world champion (2003, 2006, 2007), 9 world cup wins
Nicola Spirig (SUI) - 2 world cup wins, 2004 Olympian
Emma Moffatt (AUS) - 2 world cup wins, 2006 under23 world championships silver medallist
Laura Bennett (USA) - 4 world cup wins, 4 world championship medals
Debbie Tanner (NZL) - 1 world cup win, 4th at the 2007 Beijing world cup
Kate Allen (AUT) - 2004 Athens Olympic gold medalist
Sam Warriner (NZL) - 6 world cup wins, 2004 Olympian, 2008 world championships bronze medallist
Click here for women’s start list

The race will be standard Olympic distance: 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run.  Live text updates and live timing splits will be available online at triathlon.org.

The elite women’s race will go on Monday August 18 at 10am Beijing time.  Click here for start times in your area

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