The 2012 ITU Triathlon World Cup season comes to a close in a classic ITU city that is back on the calendar with the final stop on the 2012 circuit in Cancun, Mexico. After a five-year break from action, Cancun returns to host its tenth World Cup in the form of the fast-paced sprint distance. The flat bike course invites high cycling speeds before finishing up with another flat all-out run for the podium.
Read the race preview from Triathlon.org below:
Despite Cancun’s longstanding history on the ITU schedule, a Mexican has yet to win a World Cup race in the coastal city. However, all of that could change with strong swimmer Claudia Rivas (MEX) slated to compete. Rivas had a splendid performance on home soil earlier this year at the Huatulco World Cup where she claimed bronze and secured her place at the London Olympic Games. The flat course in Cancun is suited to Rivas’ strengths, making her Mexico’s best hope for a podium.
Rivas, however, will face off with a number of world cup medalists for a chance at victory. Flora Duffy (BER) will wear number one and is expected to line up in Cancun. Duffy and Rivas battled in Huatulco where Duffy ran to her first world cup title under high temperatures.
Canada’s Kathy Tremblay, who started the 2012 season in spectacular form with a win at the Ishigaki World Cup and a top ten finish in Sydney, will be a face to watch for at the finish.
World Cup regulars Rebecca Robisch (GER) and Elizabeth Bravo (ECU) will also look for their first World Cup podium in the popular tourist destination, while recent duathlon world championship silver medallist Katie Hewison (GBR) will race in her first World Cup since a 15th place finish in Tongyeong in 2010.
Steffen Justus (GER) comes into the final World Cup of 2012 wearing number one at the start. After winning the opening round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Sydney and recording a third-place finish in the sprint distance in Hamburg, Justus is a heavy favourite for the podium going into Cancun. Kyle Jones (CAN) has also had success at a World Cup sprint, having claimed gold on home soil in Edmonton.
Like Rivas, Crisanto Grajales (MEX) has the opportunity to become the first male Mexican to garner gold in Cancun. Grajales proved his shape recently when he claimed his first ITU World Cup title in Guatape with a last-minute dash for the finish. He was also successful in the sprint distance in Guatape last year, suggesting his sprint skills could be on par in Mexico.
As in Colombia, Manuel Huerta (USA) will be a top name to challenge Grajales. Huerta raced with Grajales until the final metres last month in Colombia before being edged out by Grajales and Sergio Sarmiento (MEX). Grajales will stand with a strong team that includes 2011 Duathlon Junior World Championship silver medallist David Mendoza (MEX) and Sarmiento.
Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) is one of the more experienced men on the start list, having raced the event five years ago. Shoemaker showcased his threatening sprint speed at the Edmonton World Cup earlier this year with a third-place finish. Carlos Javier Quinchara Forero (COL) returns to racing after a short break following his Olympic debut and will look for his first World Cup podium.