Nearly 70 of America’s top Olympic-distance triathletes – including four U.S. Olympians – will take aim at a national title on Saturday at the 2010 USA Triathlon Elite National Championship in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Additionally, the sport’s top rising stars will compete for under-23 national titles.
Action begins with the women’s race at noon, followed by the men’s event at 2:15 p.m. at Manderson Landing. All athletes will complete a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike and a 10-kilometer run in the draft-legal event.
In addition to the top Americans, almost 20 international athletes are scheduled to be in action, as the event also serves as an ITU Premium Pan American Cup. A $50,000 prize purse is on the line.
Headlined by Olympians Laura Bennett (Boulder, Colo.) and Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs, Colo.), the women’s race features five of the top six ranked U.S. women in the 2010 ITU World Championship Series. Bennett finished the year on a run of four straight WCS top-10 finishes to earn a No. 10 final ranking, while Haskins posted three straight top-10 showings early in the season and finished the year ranked No. 15.
Both Bennett and Haskins will look for their second elite nationals win, as Haskins was victorious in 2006 as was Bennett in 2003.
Other top-ranked women scheduled to compete in Tuscaloosa include No. 20 Sarah Groff (Hanover, N.H.), No. 32 Jillian Petersen (St. Louis, Mo.) and No. 54 Alicia Kaye (Maynard, Mass.). Click here for a complete women’s start list.
On the men’s side, 11 of the top 13 U.S. men from the ITU WCS series rankings are slated to be in action. Defending USAT elite national champion Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.) used his win a year ago as a springboard into 2010 and finished the WCS 12th overall and as the No. 1-ranked American.
Olympians Matt Reed (Boulder, Colo.) and Jarrod Shoemaker (Maynard, Mass.), who finished right behind Chrabot at No. 13 in the WCS series rankings, also are expected to race. Shoemaker logged four straight WCS top-10 finishes earlier this year and is in search of his first-ever elite national title. Reed is a two-time U.S. champion with wins in 2008 and 2004.
Additional U.S. competitors ranked in the world’s top 60 include Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.), who finished 44th in the WCS series rankings, and Chris Foster (Redondo Beach, Calif.), who was No. 60.
Other athletes to watch include Timothy O’Donnell (Boulder, Colo.), who was the silver medalist at the 2010 ITU Long Distance World Championship, and Olympian Greg Bennett (Boulder, Colo.), who finished the WCS ranked 28th and will compete under the ITU flag as he transitions his affiliation to the U.S. from his native Australia. Click here for a complete men’s start list.
In addition to the elite races, Tuscaloosa also will play host to the USAT Age Group National Championship on Saturday, as well as the USAT Sprint National Championship on Sunday.
Race preview provided by USA Triathlon.