Excitement is building for the Kitzbühel World Triathlon Series which is set to take place this Saturday the 6th of July.
The course has received a makeover this season with the usual Olympic distance format of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run dropped in favour of using the natural assets of the small Austrian alpine town and the famous Kitzbühel Horn. It starts with a sprint 750m swim, followed by a 11.55km cycle leg. The bike includes 867m of climbing, with a gradient of between 17 and 22 percent in the final 1km and has seen Tour de France royalty tackle the climb on numerous occasions. But the athletes won’t be finished just there, with a final 2.55km run to come, including another 136m of elevation to the finish line at Alpine House.
Along with the unique course the men’s race will for the first time this season to feature all 3 Olympic medallists in for the form of Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and Spain’s Javier Gomez.
With over 1000 meters of climbing the podium positions will be hard to predict as the cycling leg will have a major impact on the overall results. Ex professional cyclist Bryan Keane who hails from Cork will relish the tough course. Keane has had a run of good results this season including a World Cup silver medal in Japan and a solid 5th in Holland last weekend.
Triathlon Ireland Technical Director Tommy Evans believes Keane has been gathering momentum this season. “Bryan had a solid race last weekend which acted as a fine turning for Kitzbühel. With his background in biking and cross country running the climb could suit him well along with the uphill, altitude run.”
With 66 elite men on the start list a top 15 or top 20 finish would be an excellent result and bag the Corkman some valuable World Series points.
In the elite women’s race Aileen Reid is up against 40 of the top female elites with USA’s Gwen Jorgensen heading the field ranked number 1.
Previously Jorgensen has exited T2 with a deficit on the leaders but used low 30 minute 10km splits to reel them in and take victory. With only 2.55km of running track unless Jorgensen can leave T2 with the leaders she might not have enough ground to catch them.
That leaves the compact German, Anne Haug and GB’s Jodie Stimpson as possibly the main contenders for overall victory.
Ireland’s Aileen Reid has enjoyed a brief spell at home in Northern Ireland racing and winning the City of Culture triathlon in Derry before returning to camp in Morzine, France. Her running has also been improving after an early season injury, and she is back to full training.
“Aileen has been riding well in her training group especially on the long climbs so the cycle could really suit her as it’s all about power to weight ratio.” Commented Tommy Evans.
Catch Bryan Keane and the men’s race at 12noon and Aileen Reid and the women’s race at 3:20pm Irish time of the BBC Red Button or triathlonlive.tv.