Who is going to win at the London Olympics 2012?

To quote Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S – “IT’S LONDON BABY!” You can feel the electricity all the way from London as athletes go into lock down for this weekend’s big event. On Saturday, 4th August, 9:00am (6pm AEST) we will see 55 triathletes line up against the best of the best to contend for the title of Olympic gold. A couple of hours after race start, the triathlon world will crown a new gold medallist.

 

We sat down with Patrick from NRG LAB (massage/rehab/coaching – see here for details), who as one of the team masseurs has been a part of the Australian team in the lead up to the Olympics, helping keep our athletes on top of their game. He has also had the opportunity to keep an eagle eye on all of the Olympic athletes over months of racing and training, so we nutted out with him who we thought would be the medal contenders this Saturday.

 

HELEN JENKINS (GBR):

Expect to see her in the top two out of the water. She can ride a bike hard and has the technical skills behind her as well, which will play an integral part in this race.  She has fellow GBR athlete and gun swimmer, Lucy Hall who may try to help her get away in the swim. However, these athletes are smart, and will be making sure that doesn’t happen.

She can also run hard. Jenkins is one of the best at running at threshold. Just like tightening a screw, she has an ability to just keep turning it up notch. However, there is every possibility that there will be some top girls running together close to the end. In the dying stages of the race, Jenkins will struggle in a sprint finish.

She is also the home favourite, which may be an advantage, or will it be added pressure? She has proved herself over the course in the past three years – 1st, 3rd, 3rd.

PREVIOUS ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LONDON RESULTS:

2011 – 1st

2010 – 3rd

2009 – 3rd

 

NICOLA SPIRIG (SUI):

Spirig’s strength is her bike. She is the strongest biker by far. Expect her to be 20-30sec off the swim pace, and therefore will be coming out in the second pack. Once she hits the bike course, Spirig will be smashing herself to get back to the leaders, and consequently could drag the chase pack back up to the leaders. So expect the leaders to be going hard, doing their best not to let that happen.

Spirig is tough as nails. Just two weeks ago she nailed the Antwerp 70.3 race, and back on 27th May she won at ITU World Triathlon Madrid, and backed up the following week with a win at Switzerland 70.3,

Off the bike, Spirig is also a top 5-6 runner. She can run well off a tough bike.

 

PREVIOUS ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LONDON RESULTS:

2011 – 8th

2010 – 2nd

2009 – 1st

 

EMMA MOFFATT (AUS):

‘Moffy’ is one of the toughest runners on the circuit. If anyone can hurt themself, it’s her. Moffatt was 3rd back in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, and will be wanting those extra two steps on the podium. Her experience in racing, and racing well, at a previous Olympics will be a huge advantage for her in the lead up and on race day.

She’s strong across all three disciplines and has proven herself time and time again. After her sprint distance race in Hamburg last weekend, she is ready to fire.

 

 

PREVIOUS ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LONDON RESULTS:

2011 – 15th

2010 – 9th

2009 – Didn’t race

 

ERIN DENSHAM (AUS):

What a story hers would be if she came up with the goods on Saturday. She’s struggled through a heart condition, chronic hamstring issues, glandular fever and stress fractures, and the Aussie is still going. Just this year she has proven more than once that she can perform on the day she has to. She was practically told that to make the Olympic team she needed to perform at Oceania, Mooloolaba, Sydney and San Diego – she went 3rd, 1st, 1st and 2nd. She was under immense pressure and ticked all the boxes.

She will swim in the lead pack and ride with the lead pack. The beauty of Densham is her bike handling skills. She’s efficient on the bike and will expend as little as energy as possible and save it for her run.

Interesting fact – in the past 4 years (possibly more), Densham is the only female to have finished within 10% of the men’s run time. She did this at Mooloolaba.

PREVIOUS ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LONDON RESULTS:

2011 – DNF

2010 – DNF

2009 – DNF

 

ANDREA HEWITT (NZL):

Hewitt hasn’t been on the top of the podium of late, however, this is potentially because she’s been under a heavy workload and hasn’t tapered throughout her races. This gives her the X-Factor. Her form and capabilities are relatively unknown going into this weekend’s event. She is very consistent over all three legs, has a great sprint and is currently ranked number one – she is a definite medal prospect.


 

 

PREVIOUS ITU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LONDON RESULTS:

2011 – 6th

2010 – 4th

2009 – 9th

 

Others to watch out for:

* Barbara Riveros Dias – If she’s up there on the bike, she has a blistering run.

* Laura Bennett – experience goes a long way, and Laura is as tough as they come.

* Gwen Jorgensen – She is as good as the top 5 on the run, but is a weak swimmer. If she manages to get in that chase pack and gets pulled back to the leaders like she did last year, she could be in the mix.

* Lisa Norden – consistent swimmer and is almost as strong as Spirig is on the bike. She runs very similar to Spirig also. She is just back from injury, and at Kitzbuhel at the end of June, she came second in a sprint finish.

* Young guns Emma Jackson and Rachel Klamer are ones to watch too. Klamer is a great runner but is carrying a small injury. Don’t rule out WITSUP.com’s ambassador, Emma Jackson either. She obviously enjoys the London course coming 4th over this course last year, out sprinting Emma Snowsill for the position. She can run with the best of them, but will need to be strong and technical savvy on the bike to be a contender.

 

THE COURSE

The swim is just one lap of 1500m as opposed to two laps previously. It starts on a pontoon in the Serpentine, and athletes will exit the water and run the 200m to the transition in front of the screaming fans in the grandstands.

 

The bike course is flat, fast and technical. They will cover a total of 43km in seven laps, taking in Hyde Park, Constitution Hill and Buckingham Palace and the grandstand once again. Bike skills will be a bonus in this race with some technical tight turns and speed bumps.

 

The run circles the Serpentine four times for a total of 10kms. The course is perfect for fans, and expect a huge crowd at the finishline area where the athletes will actually pass a total of 12 times throughout the race.

 

The start list:

 

1 Barbara Riveros Diaz CHI
2 Lisa Perterer AUT
3 Maaike Caelers NED
4 Rachel Klamer NED
5 Claudia Rivas MEX
6 Zsofia Kovacs HUN
7 Fabienne St Louis MRI
8 Lucy Hall GBR
9 Vicky Holland GBR
10 Helen Jenkins GBR
11 Emmie Charayron FRA
12 Jessica Harrison FRA
14 Carole Peon FRA
15 Mariko Adachi JPN
16 Juri Ide JPN
17 Ai Ueda JPN
18 Helle Frederiksen DEN
19 Line Jensen DEN
20 Lisa Norden SWE
21 Svenja Bazlen GER
22 Anja Dittmer GER
23 Anne Haug GER
24 Yi Zhang CHN
25 Erin Densham AUS
26 Emma Jackson AUS
27 Emma Moffatt AUS
28 Aileen Morrison IRL
29 Annamaria Mazzetti ITA
30 Vendula Frintova CZE
31 Radka Vodickova CZE
32 Andrea Hewitt NZL
33 Kate McIlroy NZL
34 Nicky Samuels NZL
35 Katrien Verstuyft BEL
36 Flora Duffy BER
37 Yuliya Yelistratova UKR
38 Elizabeth Bravo ECU
39 Mateja Simic SLO
40 Irina Abysova RUS
41 Alexandra Razarenova RUS
42 Daniela Ryf SUI
43 Nicola Spirig SUI
44 Marina Damlaimcourt ESP
45 Ainhoa Murua ESP
46 Zurine Rodriguez ESP
47 Kate Roberts RSA
48 Gillian Sanders RSA
49 Pamela Oliveira BRA
50 Maria Czesnik POL
51 Agnieszka Jerzyk POL
52 Laura Bennett USA
53 Sarah Groff USA
54 Gwen Jorgensen USA
55 Paula Findlay CAN
56 Kathy Tremblay CAN

 

– photos courtesy of Patrick Legge

 

Don’t forget to check out our ‘Hero Vids’ here – wishing our Aussie triathletes all the best!

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