In the second stop on the 2017 ITU World Cup calendar, the elites head to Australia to compete in the 2017 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup. This year’s event marks the 13th time that Mooloolaba has appeared in the series. It will once again offer up the familiar standard-distance course on the Sunshine Coast.
Making her 2017 ITU racing debut is Aussie Ashleigh Gentle, who tops the start list. Gentle had a standout 2016 year, making two World Triathlon Series podiums along with a silver medal at the Montreal World Cup. She also represented her nation for the first time at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. While she took third place in Mooloolaba in 2015, she has never won the home nation World Cup, so this weekend could be her opportunity to start off the year with a victory.
Australian compatriot Emma Jackson also stands near the top of women’s start list. Swift on her feet, look out for Jackson on the back of run. While she has experience on the World Cup podium, she hasn’t seen the gold since 2014. She also hasn’t race in Mooloolaba since 2013, so she will be looking to change that trend.
Some other Aussie women to look out for this weekend are some rising talent that could start making some moves in the years to come. Natalie Van Coevorden is a strong swimmer that earned her first World Cup podium in 2013. Emma Jeffcoat has had several successes in the Oceania race scene and is could explode onto the ITU race circuit. Jaz Hedgeland is another Aussie who has just missed out on some World Cup podiums, but has also had some strong performances in Oceania Cups.
After once again finishing first in the swim in WTS Abu Dhabi last weekend, Spain’s Carolina Routier is set to race her first World Cup of the year. While she is known as one of the fastest women in the water, she has yet to win a World Cup in her career.
Click here for the full women’s start list
Holding the number one position on the men’s start list will be Mexico’s Crisanto Grajales. Grajales started out his ITU racing season in WTS Abu Dhabi last weekend, where he placed 21st. He produced a strong season in 2016, scoring his first WTS podium in Yokohama, as well as making it onto his first World Cup podium since 2012. He is a strong runner, so the competition will need to keep an eye on him on the 10km run.
Hungary’s Gabor Faldum joins Grajales as a top international athlete to watch out for. Having made it onto the World Cup podium in 2015, Faldum is overdue for another for another top three performance.
Australia’s own Drew Box made his first World Cup podium debut in Hautulco last year. He’ll have the support of his home country, making him a threat to the field.
Two US men to watch are Kevin McDowell and Tommy Zaferes. McDowell has been a rising talent for the men’s U.S. team ever since he took the silver medal in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. He earned his first World Cup medal in Chengdu in 2014. Zaferes, on the other hand, is a talent that is selective when it comes to his racing. He is excels in the water, and can hang tough on the bike. Though he races infrequently, he put together a bronze-medal performance at the 2016 ITU Aquathlon World Championships.
The women will get the 2017 Mooloolaba ITU Triathlon World Cup underway at 11:30 on Saturday March 11, while the men will follow at 14:30 local time. Follow all of the action with live timing at triathlon.org/live and on twitter @triathlonlive.