Guatapé will once again host the Triathlon World Cup on Sunday, in which 80 elite athletes – 53 men and 27 women – will compete over a tough course at an altitude of 1,925m.
During the pre-race press conference on Friday, talking about her preparation and training ahead of the 2013 race, and the difficulties posed by the course, Lina María Raga (COL) said: “This is the most important event of the year and we have prepared very hard, it’s a complicated and difficult circuit, but we’re ready.”
Spain’s Ainhoa Murua echoed the athletes’ apprehension at the harsh challenge the course offers, but expressed her contentment at competing in Colombia for the first time. “People have talked about the difficulty of the course, and it’s going to be a very tough race.” Asked about how it feels to be competing as the number one, she said: “It’s a little bit strange to be running as number one, and I’m going to have to fight to maintain that position.”
Japan’s Yuka Sato said she was also very excited to be competing in Guatapé.
Colombia’s Carlos Javier Quinchará said he feels very motivated competing on home turf, and that “the Colombian athletes have prepared very well for event, as no doubt every other athlete has.” Asked whether he now feels even more pressure having accumulated more points and improved his ranking after his participation in the 2012 Olympic Games, he said: “We all want to reach the top, and it’s a decision that one takes, to be exposed to that kind of pressure.”
Reinaldo Colucci of Brazil, who will be competing in Colombia for the first time, spoke of the importance of the event being held in Latin America for the region’s athletes.
Returning to Guatapé after competing here in 2011, the USA’s Jarrod Shoemaker (USA) said: “I’m very excited to be back after two years, it’s beautiful here and the bike course is very different, and with the altitude, those are two factors that will make it a tough race and a challenge,” referring to the grueling uphill stretches of the 40km bike race.
He also said the athletes will have the advantage of not running barefoot due to the cobblestones.
Article by Adam Critchley