In the second stop on the 2017 ITU World Cup calendar, the elites head to Australia to compete in the 2017 Mooloolaba ITU World Cup. This year’s event marks the 13th time that Mooloolaba has appeared in the series, first appearing on the docket in 2005 and once again offering up the familiar standard-distance course on the Sunshine Coast.
While the women’s field consists of a small roster, it is full of current and rising talent. Making her 2017 ITU racing debut is Aussie Ashleigh Gentle (http://www.triathlon.org/athletes/profile/ashleigh_gentle?mc_cid=5649165bef&mc_eid=[UNIQID]) , who tops the start list. Gentle had a standout 2016 year, making two World Triathlon Series podiums along with a silver medal at the Montreal World Cup. She also represented her nation for the first time at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. While she took third place in Mooloolaba in 2015, she has never won the home nation World Cup, so this weekend could be her opportunity to start off her year with a victory.
Australian compatriot Emma Jackson (http://www.triathlon.org/athletes/profile/emma_jackson?mc_cid=5649165bef&mc_eid=[UNIQID]) also stands near the top of women’s start list. She is a really strong cyclist, who’s signature move is to ride at the tail end of the leading pack, waiting to make her move on the run. While she has experience on the winning World Cup podium, she hasn’t seen the gold since 2014. She also hasn’t race in Mooloolaba since 2013, so she will also be looking for some home nation success.
Some other Aussie women to look out for this weekend are some rising talent that could start making some moves in the years to come. Natalie Van Coevorden (http://www.triathlon.org/athletes/profile/natalie_van_coevorden?mc_cid=5649165bef&mc_eid=[UNIQID]) is a strong swimmer that earned her first World Cup podium in 2013. Emma Jeffcoat (http://www.triathlon.org/athletes/profile/emma_jeffcoat?mc_cid=5649165bef&mc_eid=[UNIQID]) has had several successes in the Oceania race scene and is could explode onto the ITU race circuit. While Jaz Hedgeland (http://www.triathlon.org/athletes/profile/jaz_hedgeland?mc_cid=5649165bef&mc_eid=[UNIQID]) is another Aussie who has just missed out on some World Cup podiums, but has also had some strong performances in Oceania Cups.
After once again finishing first in the swim in WTS Abu Dhabi last weekend, Spain’s Carolina Routier (http://www.triathlon.org/athletes/profile/carolina_routier?mc_cid=5649165bef&mc_eid=[UNIQID]) is set to race her first World Cup of the year. While she is famously known as being one of the fastest women in the water, she has yet to win a World Cup in her career, and after getting a DNF in Mooloolaba last year, it could be the perfect location to snag her first gold.
photos Janos Schmidt