(Almost) All the big names of British triathlon are in Rio for a crucial test event taking place on Sunday.
Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls will test themselves over the Rio 2016 triathlon course this weekend. Sunday’s elite race offers the first opportunity to meet part of the 2016 selection criteria, and Olympic Champion, Alistair Brownlee will be amongst those lining up on Copacabana Beach.
Alistair is out in Brazil getting ready along with Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson and former ITU Wold Champs Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins.
The aspiring 2016 Olympians need to finish on the podium in Rio and at next month’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Chicago in order to meet the preselection criteria. A final opportunity for possible selection will be at one of the early season rounds of the ITU World Triathlon Series next year.
This weekend’s Test Event features almost all of the world’s leading triathletes, although defending Olympic Champion, Nicola Spirig (SUI) isn’t here, and bronze medallist, Jonathan Brownlee, misses out with a stress fracture.
Britain’s women will be the first to experience the course on Sunday morning. Starting with a potentially rough 1500m sea swim, they’ll move on to a hilly 40km bike course followed by a flat 10km run.
Jodie Stimpson and Helen Jenkins are both here, making this the strongest British female line up in any race so far this year. India Lee gets her opportunity to experience Rio having qualified through a British selection race in Antalya in May.
Stanford said: “Things seem to be coming together at the right time for me and I hope I can put a good race together this weekend. I’m really excited to see the course, experience Rio, and see what I can do.”
Alistair Brownlee hopes the Rio bike course will offer the opportunity to break away and force a hard pace.
He said: “I’m looking forward to racing and to seeing the set up, particularly the bike course, and what the conditions are like. It’s just about a year to go until the Olympic Games and it really focuses the mind that we’re going to be racing in Rio this weekend.”
Tom Bishop, Adam Bowden, Mark Buckingham and Aaron Harris complete Britain’s line up for the lunch-time race starting on Copacabana Beach.
The Paratriathlon Test Event takes place on Saturday. Whilst it doesn’t offer selection opportunities, it does provide a valuable insight into what the sport’s Paralympic debut might be like next year.
Paratriathletes will compete over a sprint distance course, starting at a floating pontoon in the sea and then racing along the beach-front. ITU World Champions Lauren Steadman and Alison Patrick are amongst a strong British squad.
This event will not be televised live, a decision made by the local organising committee. However, both BBC and Sky TV will be in Rio and will provide some live sports news reporting. Live timing is available by triathlon.org.