|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Four Kiwi men will chase the richest purse in the sport of triathlon this Monday (NZT) at the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Bevan Docherty, Kris Gemmell, Clark Ellice and Dylan McNeice will line up with hopes of grabbing a share of the spoils.
With USD$151,000 up for grabs for first across the line and another $5,150 in bonus money for the overall race leader after each lap of the swim, bike and run, it is no wonder the event has attracted a world class field including Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez, the gold and silver medallists from London.
Just qualifying for the race can be a challenge in itself, with athletes earning points throughout the 5150 (fifty one fifty) series to make the start line in Des Moines while a select few are invited to attend without the stress of going through the qualifying process.
While the same distance as standard triathlon events (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run), the difference in the 5150 series is the fact it is non drafting, meaning athletes must find their own space on the road when on the bike, unlike the ITU Series which is draft legal and leads to bunches forming on the bike.
After missing Olympic selection this year, New Plymouth’s Clark Ellice has targeted Des Moines as his key event of 2012, he will race as the 5th seed on Monday.
“After not making the Olympics this year I have put all my energy, time and money into making this race my Olympics as a win here will be a huge financial boost as I look four years ahead to Rio.
“I’m feeling ace and to be honest this is the fittest I have ever felt, training at Flagstaff (in the USA) has been amazing and I will definitely be setting shop up here the next few years.
“It is a major concern that the Olympic gold and silver medallists are going to be here, but I have to have faith in my training and put out a big one. The goal is to stay strong on the swim and bike, don’t let a gap to the front develop and let it out on the run.”
For McNeice the biggest challenge may well have been in qualifying for this select field, the renowned swimmer is looking at the cash on offer with each passing lap of the event.
“I think everyone is waiting to see how Alistair Brownlee races. We know Gomez is just as good in the non-drafting scene, so it will be interesting to see how Alistair goes.
“Hyvee, with its prime system is a good opportunity for me to swim like it’s a swimming race and then hold on as best I can. I’ve been doing a little more swimming to try and prepare for what will be for me, a race within a race. After that I will simply race it like any other race and push as hard as I can, with the added benefit of knowing that all I have to do is cross the line for a pay cheque!
“These races within races that will happen with people going for the primes should really break it up, but I think you’ll see the usual suspects at the top, which are the guys that can swim bike and run – weaker swimmers and bikers will probably find themselves out of the race in such a strong field for the USA scene.”
Bevan Docherty is overcoming illness which has limited his training since London and has his eyes on the upcoming World 70.3 Championships so may not feature strongly on Monday (NZT).
Des Moines, Iowa, USA
9.30am Monday 3rd September NZT