The first-ever TriGrandPrix Basque Country has attracted some of the top female triathletes from around the world. The contenders include names like Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae, Scotland’s Catriona Morrison, New Zealand’s Joanna Lawn and Great Britain’s Leanda Cave. The men’s lineup features the Basque Country’s own Eneko Llanos.
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This Saturday sees the second installment of the acclaimed TriGrandPrix series, taking place in Zarautz, in the Basque Country, northern Spain. The new and innovative series, based around the mantra of ‘Serious about Athlete Care’, is incorporating the half iron distance Zarautz Triathlon, which is an extremely prestigious and important event on the Basque Sports calendar, and have added a very impressive €40,000 prize purse for professional athletes.
The 2010 edition will be the first edition in the events 24-year history to be run on 100% closed roads. Seven-time Ironman New Zealand Champion and TriGrandPrix UK winner Jo Lawn (NZL) will be looking to add another victory to her already impressive string of results in 2010. We are definitely in for one of the fittest and strongest women’s races of this year’s calendar and adding the passion of the local supporters on the 24% climbs and cobble stone roads these will make things a very interesting triathlon show. Great Britain’s Leanda Cave will certainly be hoping to improve on her second place in Kent after a puncture put her out of contention, and Australia’s Mirinda Carfrae is joining the series off the back of an impressive victory in Rev3 Quassy last weekend – but with only six days from race to race and a long haul flight to take into consideration will it be too much? If the 2009 and 2010 St.Croix Champion Catriona Morrison has recovered from her recent win in the toughest Ironman on Earth – Ironman Lanzarote she will be tough to beat time will tell.
While both Carfrae and Morrison have been solid so far this season, no woman has been more consistent leading the swims in half Ironman events than Leanda Cave just won her third straight Ironman 70.3 Florida triathlon. The ever consistence Ironman athlete Jo Lawn and recent winner of the inaugural UK TriGrandPrix will also be in the mix using her endurance ability to try and battle the half-Ironman specialists.
Other strong contenders are Ana Burgos, Julia Grant, Jo Carritt, Edith Niederfriniger and Martina Dogana.
The men’s field is just as impressively stacked, with all eyes on local hero Eneko Llanos after his recent domination in both the Abu Dhabi international triathlon and Ironman Lanzarote. But with only three weeks to recover from the Ironman and Basque superstars Ciro Tobar, Clemente Alonso, Patxi Villa and Mikel Elgezabel and even his own brother, Hektor Llanos gunning for a victory on home soil, Eneko certainly won’t have it easy.
Trek/K-Swiss team member Paul Matthews is flying the flag for Australia and will surely be looking to make Zarautz his first victory of the year, Scotland’s Scott Neyedli is the only British contender in the male field and is back on form after suffering from a cold the week before TriGrandPrix UK. Also racing are Mathias Hecht and Xabier Le Floche.