Australian World champions Emma Moffatt and Bill Chaffey will spearhead a strong group of Australian triathletes and Paratriathletes who will join more than 4000 competitors when Chicago hosts this weekend’s ITU World Triathlon Series.
Moffatt, a two-time ITU world champion and Olympic bronze medallist is the only member of Australia’s six-strong Commonwealth Games triathlon team who will make the trip to the US in the lead up to next month’s Games in Glasgow for round five of the eight-round WTS.
It will be an important part of her preparation for her first Commonwealth Games – the major focus of her 2014 season.
The 29-year-old will be joined in Chicago by youngsters, Wollongong’s Under 23 World Champion Charlotte McShane, Brisbane’s Chengdu ITU World Cup winner and ITU Under 23 World Duathlon champion and Elite race runner-up Gillian Backhouse as well as Sydney’s Deaflympic gold medallist Melinda Vernon, who is making a successful transition into triathlon.
The men’s Elite race will see London Olympian Brendan Sexton from the Wollongong Wizards joined by 2013 London World Championship team member Cameron Good from Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Victoria’s Noosa Triathlon winner Pete Kerr in a field headed by two-time ITU World Champion Javier Gomez and fellow Spaniard, London WTS winner Mario Mola.
And in another landmark addition to the ITU calendar will be he fifth round of the 2014 ITU World Paratriathlon Series that will see four-time ITU World Champion Chaffey (PT1) joined by fellow Australian squad members Brant Garvey (PT2), Jack Swift (PT4) and Jonathan Goerlach (PT5).
ELITE WOMEN’S PREVIEW: SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR MOFFY TO SKYPE HER WAY ONTO PODIUM
Women’s start time: 3:30am Sunday, June 29 (AEST)
Emma Moffatt, who is currently sitting in seventh on the overall ITU Rankings will be looking to turn her relatively disappointing early season form around, which has seen her finish 7th in Auckland, 9th in Cape Town and 14th in Yokohama.
And regular Skype sessions with her coach Shaun Stephens could be just the answer.“I haven’t started off with many great races so I will be looking to Chicago and Hamburg to turn things around,” Moffatt said before leaving the Gold Coast this week.
“I will race Chicago before heading to Spain to train and then put the finishing touches to (the Games) preparation in Hamburg (July 11 and 12) before heading into Glasgow.”
Moffatt has been coached remotely by former Australian head coach Shaun Stephens, who is now a member of the Team Sky Professional Cycling coaching staff.
“Shaun coached me for three years leading up to the Beijing Olympics and I have every faith in him. We talk regularly via email and on Skype – and it’s working out really well; he’s a great coach, who’s very enthusiastic and who knows his stuff.”
Moffatt will again face Australian-based World Ranked number one Gwen Jorgensen, who after becoming the first American woman to win a WTS event last year in San Diego, will look to repeat her winning ways again.
If her last two wins in Yokohama and London are any indicator, Jorgensen is well primed to duplicate her 2013 win.
Moffatt will again face-off with two of her Commonwealth Games rivals, British pair Helen Jenkins and Jodie Stimpson.
ELITE MEN’S PREVIEW: GENERATION NEXT MEN THE SLEEPING GIANTS OF WTS
Men’s start time: 7am, Monday, June 30 (AEST)
With Australia’s Commonwealth Games men’s team, Ryan Bailie, Aaron Royle and Dan Wilson sitting out Chicago it gives Australia’s next crop of men an opportunity to shine.But waiting for Brendan Sexton, Cameron Good and Pete Kerr will be the men of the moment – Spanish pair Javier Gomez and Mario Mola – who between them have been unbeatable this season – Gomez striking gold in Auckland, Cape Town and Yokohama and Mola a victory over the sprint distance course in London.
Nine of the top 20 males will be on show and despite the fact that the Brownlee boys Alistair and Jonathan will also sit this round out, there will be particular interest centred around Commonwealth Games hopeful, South African Richard Murray – who is currently fourth on the world rankings.
For Sexton, Good and Kerr, the Chicago round will be an ideal opportunity to put their best form on the board in the lead up to the end of season races in Hamburg and Stockholm and hopefully places on the Australian team for the ITU WTS Grand Final in Edmonton (August 25-September 1).