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Triathlon - 11. January 2012.

PATCO Pan American Triathlon Championships kick off blockbuster 2012

The 2012 ITU season officially gets underway this weekend, with the best of the Americas heading to Argentina for the 2012 LA Paz PATCO Triathlon Pan American Championships. La Paz has hosted a Pan American Cup event each year since 2003 and two South American Championships, but this is the first time the city will host a continental championship event.

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Brazil’s Pamela Nascimento Oliveria record shows that she always does well in Pan American events and comes to La Paz as the highest finisher from last year’s Pan American Games, where she won bronze, and will wear the No.1. But there are a host of other top-12 finishers from those Games that could feature here including, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, Mexico’s Claudia Rivas and Michelle Flipo, Colombia’s Carolina Grimaldo, Ecuador’s Elizabeth Bravo, Brazil’s Flavia Fernandes, and Argentina’s Romina Palacios Balena, as well as the talented Anahi Leon (MEX) who recorded three top-20 World Cup results in 2011. Bravo is also a previous La Paz winner, taking out the South American titles in 2009.

But they face competition from a strong Canadian contingent, including Pan American Games fifth-placed finisher and 2006 PATCO champion Kathy Tremblay, Chantell Widney, Sarah-Anne Brault, Lauren Campbell and Kirsten Sweetland. It’s the first race in over six months for both Campbell and Sweetland, after their 2011 seasons were shortened due to sustained runs of injuries and bad luck.

Campbell started 2011 strong with a ninth place in Mooloolaba and a 10th in the Sydney ITU World Triathlon Series race, but then spent most of the year out with recurring fatigue. Sweetland’s 2011 started with bike crashes in Mooloolaba and Sydney, which left her with a concussion, and then later in the season suffered stress fractures. Sweetland also has some unfinished business in PATCO championships, after she was disqualified in the 2010 race in Puerto Vallarta.

The USA’s hopes to claim another PATCO title lie with Jillian Petersen, who won this event in 2008 and collected bronze in 2010, Lindsey Jerdonek, and Kaitlin Shiver, who finished fourth in the 2011 Under23 World Championships in Beijing.
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