The men’s Triathlon takes place today with 55 competitors to line up at the start. The 55 men will take part in a 1500m swim, a 43km bike ride and a 10km run.
Like many triathlons there are a few athletes that stand out from the bunch, but if you are one that watches regularly you will know to expect the unexpected.
The Brownlee brothers (GBR) are the obvious contenders for a medal both owning a multitude of ITU World Triathlons between them.
Alistair has had a questionable season that started with an on-going injury in 2012, but with his first place in Kitzbuehel, many now believe he is back in form to take on a medal. His 2011 season was a massive success, winning 11 of the 15 ITU World Triathlon Series he entered as well as becoming the 2011 ITU Triathlon World Champion.
Whilst Alistair was out of competition, it was his brother Jonathan who continued the family business, winning at both Madrid and San Diego. He also won the silver medal at the 2011 ITU Triathlon World Championships next to his brother.
Both the Brownlee brothers are in excellent form and it will be interesting to see who can win on the day when an Olympic Gold medal is the prize.
The day will start out with a swim of the Serpentine, where the athletes dive in from a Pontoon for a 1.5km loop. The Brownlees are strong swimmers but so is Javier Gomez Noya (ESP), winner of the European Championships this year in Eilat, as well as a Bronze medallist at the 2011 Triathlon ITU World Championships. Triathlons are not generally won during the swim although they can be lost there.
When the swim is finished the riders move on to the seven lap, 43km bike course. The roads can be slippery when damp as seen in the women’s race and riders will need to have excellent bike handling skills as well as luck if it is raining on the day.
Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) will be one to watch out for during the race, an excellent all-rounder, he is yet to win a major event after winning a fist full of silvers in his lifetime.
If the men’s race comes down to the run as it did in the ladies event, the 10km run will be a nail biter. Richard Murray (RSA) claimed silver in the opening ITU World Triathlon Series 2012 after a strong, fast run took him ahead of most of the field.
But don’t discount Simon Whitfield (CAN) who is one of only two men that have qualified for four consecutive Olympics. He won the gold in Sidney in 2000 and the silver in Beijing in 2008. Although his run isn’t as quick as some of the other competitors, his ability to perform on the day might just give him the edge he needs.
If you read my ‘ones to watch’ preview in the women’s event, none of them won the gold, showing that although we have our predictions, it all comes down to how the person performs on the day, and triathletes are always training to overtake their rivals at the last second.