It’s the tenth anniversary of an ITU race being held in Madrid, and the last roll of the dice for London Olympic qualifications.  The women’s race is at 5:45pm this Saturday – so if you’re in Australia that means you better set the alarm clock, because you’ll be getting up at 1:45am Sunday morning if you want to watch it live.

After a smashing race in San Diego a couple of weeks ago, number one ranked in the world, Helen Jenkins, will be sitting this race out, and will race at Kitzbuhel instead (23rd June).

Andrea Hewitt, who was ranked second prior to the San Diego race, but who has now been pushed to third by Erin Densham, will be back on the start line for Madrid. Hewitt who has already confirmed her place in the New Zealand Olympic team will be the favourite going into the race. She hasn’t been off the podium since London last year.

The other women looking to take Hewitt on, will be the likes of Nicola Spirig, who is currently ranked 15th, and who back in April, became the three-time European champion. Jessica Harrison (FRA), Anne Haug (GER), Vicky Holland (GBR) and Liz Blatchford (GBR) will also be in amongst the mix.

Emma Jackson will be the favourite Australian in the race and she will be joined by Felicity Sheedy-Ryan, Felicity Abram and Natalie Van Coevorden. Interestingly enough, two of the Australians hoping for Olympic selection, Erin Densham and Emma Snowsill both aren’t racing at Madrid. You could derive a theory that suggests these girls have no more need to ‘qualify’, and we can expect them on the Olympic team list. However, you never know, and nothing is certain until the Australian team is announced on 31st May.

So, Olympics aside, these women are still racing for money, which has increased by 15% in total since 2011.

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