Race Previews

Tongyeong World Cup 2022


Karlovy Vary 2022

Karlovy Vary is a World Cup event in the Czech Republic.

Race Date - 11 September

Classic format

1500m, 2 lap swim

40km consisting of a 6.5km connection route to 7 lap course

10km, 4 lap run.

The course is challenging from the start.

The swim is a dive start from a curved pontoon. The ends would appear to be the best positions as they not only keep athletes away from the chaos of the middle but also appear to be closer to the first buoy.  The swim is two laps, which differ slightly.  The mid-point exit is a ramp with a u-turn run to dive in to commence the second lap.  At the completion of the swim, the exit is also a ramp very close to T1.

The bike commences on a narrow section of path following the edge of the lake for about 400m to take the athletes onto the main road.  These are gradients along the 6.5km section to the main looped course in town.  Cobbled areas, speed humps, drain covers, road paint and some areas of road potholes are throughout the course.  There is also a tunnel which in the past athletes have crashed in, so be careful of the change of visibility and light combined with the hazardous section of road.  Once the 6.5km connection road has been completed, the athletes are onto the looped main course.

The hills become steeper and packs begin to break up through these sections.  It is important athletes also know how to descent well, because the tough uphill sections are followed by descents.  Everything becomes increasingly difficult if wet – which fortunately is not likely to take place.

Many athletes do record DNF’s in Karlovy Vary due to the difficulty of the course, and as an indication of what is required to race well, top men record an average power of 230-240 and the women 170-180 power average.

T2 is simple, but you need to be efficient.

The run is tough like the bike.  There are cobbled sections, which will be hard on the feet and more tough hills and descents to negotiate.  Athletes must be able to run uphill well but also descend quickly.

The final course details are published on triathlon.org here and will be presented at the Athlete briefing.


Valencia 2022

2022 World Triathlon Cup Valencia on 3 September 2022.

  • Valencia World Triathlon Cup, Spain 
  • Sprint format 
  • 750m 1 lap swim - 20 km 4 lap bike - 5km 2 lap run.
  • Weather - should be warm. Previous races have been wet with a wetsuit swim, but these were not in September, so the weather was colder.
  • Challenge - The most challenging aspect is the most likely to be the pace of the race. With the course predominantly flat, it is usually raced well fast and at a high intensity.

Overview

The swim is a dive start and it is important you don’t hesitate on the gun. The races are afternoon races, so light goggles may be better with the sun setting and the lower light.  Navigation is simple with no swell in the flat harbour water, and the shortest line to the first buoy just over 300m out is to the right of the start line facing the water.

The swim exit is difficult as athletes must pull themselves onto the ramp. This should be practiced in the course fam, in the days prior to the race.

Out of T1 there are some fairly tight chicanes taking the riders out onto the road, which should be practiced pre-race.

The bike course is flat, with corners you can pedal through, although it does tighten up as you approach the end of each lap and T2.  There is one 180 degree turn at the far end of the course, also in the area riders are most likely to experience wind as it is the most exposed area of the bike course. Stay to the right on approach to T2.

The run out of T2 negotiates the same chicanes as the bike which must be run point to point on the way out and on the return to ensure the shortest course is run. The run is where the race is won, so be prepared for a fast run.

Please note the final course details are published on triathlon.org HERE and will be presented at the Athlete briefing.


Pontevedra 2022

2022 World Triathlon Cup Pontevedra on 24 July.

Pontevedra has a long history in World Triathlon events, having hosted the Multisport World Championships and long course world championships. Spain has also held their National Sprint Championships at Pontevedra in 2020 and 2021.

It is season 2022 however, that will see it host a World Triathlon Cup for the first time, acting as a test event for the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals.

Today we have asked an expert of the area - Carlos Prieto (ESP). Carlos is the Technical Director and coach of the High Performance Team and Development Team of Galicia Triathlon Federation and Coach of Javier Gomez Noya (2012-2021). His local knowledge of the area is outstanding.

To summarise the advice of Carlos Prieto, information regarding the Pontevedra course is as follows -

Race Date - 24 July 2022

Swim

2 laps in the Lerez River (anti clockwise direction): lap 1 = 1000m, lap 2 = 500m

There is a strong current in the river which is accentuated as the swim is close to the river mouth. The swim will be with the current on the way out and against the current on return (BUT this must be checked by athletes pre race as river tides vary).

The Men’s and Women’s race start will be set at the time the current is the weakest (when the tide is turning from lowest or highest).

When swimming in a river with a current, it will generally be strongest in the middle and weaker along the shore. Therefore, if you want the current to assist you when swimming with it, try to swim as close to the middle of the river as the course allows. The opposite applies when swimming against the current - aim to swim as close to the shore as the course allows, so it is weaker.

Women’s start time is at Low Tide

Mens start time is at High Tide

Swim exit Because the women are swimming at low tide the exit will be steeper.

You must check the exit, as it is tricky

Tips –

  • Make sure you attend the swim familiarisation pre-race, as World Triathlon will attempt to have at the same time as race time to check the water current.
  • Watch the current coming from the tributary (or river split) just near the 500m turn, as this can also add current to the race. In these areas you may need to try to find feet to sit on for protection.
  • As always check the swim markings, sightings you can use and work out the best start position. Including the navigation under the bridge on longer lap 1.
  • The start is normally a dive start.
  • Swim exit - Because the women are swimming at low tide the exit will be steeper

Bike

8 Laps: lap 1 = 4.6km, laps 2-8 = 4.97km

Lap 1 = maximum gradient 8.4% max descent 9.4%

Lap 2-8 = max gradient 8.9% max descent 9.5%

T1 - the bike mount area comes up quickly as athletes are on the bridge. Be aware of athletes around as it can become congested.  NOTE - There are two transition areas, T1 and T2 are not the same.

From T1 the bike course crosses the river from the swim exit and makes a loop through town. This is a technical and complicated area with wider and narrow sections that you could do a walk through to really get a visual on. There are areas of speed humps in the streets, and lots of corners. This area myst be ridden aggressively, because of so many changes in direction, and effort. Athletes need to be prepared to be uncomfortable with many high intensity efforts required. The potential for problems is along the river where the streets normally have heavy traffic. In these areas if wet, the surface holds oil and is likely to become slippery. In fact if there is rain, the entire circuit becomes more difficult.

Once the course crosses back over the river, it takes athletes through the athletics stadium, which will also be T2 after 7 more laps.

Run

4 laps: 2.5km

Maximum gradient 16.3% max descent 21.9%

The run takes the athletes through town. The streets become narrower and there are cobbled sections. There is a section at the top of the run loop with an uphill 16.3% max gradient and a 21.9% descent with a sharp right turn back to complete the run loop.

Athletes need to be able to vary their pace and also adjust technique for different gradients (up and down). Learning to run fast uphill is as important as running fast downhill.

The run has sections of cobbles through town. To run well athletes must be able to adjust their gait and run fast across uneven surfaces.

To Summarise

Pontevedra is a tough race. Every discipline will test athletes and it is the type of race that will require attention to detail, knowing the course well and understanding the conditions.

The best athletes will swim the course using the benefit of the current well, while also managing to minimise the opposing current. The bike must be ridden aggressively and with high skill to ensure the athlete is able to keep on top of any changes in the course while also negotiating technical areas. The course requires high concentration throughout.

The run, as always, will be vital. The technically challenging course will require athletes to understand how to adapt their run technique to move over the course well.

Athletes need to be prepared for dry and wet weather and have trained to constantly manage the lactic tolerance of repeated efforts and explosive attacks.

Preparation is the key to racing well.  Pontevedra is a race that always rewards the best prepared athletes and the athlete who races the conditions well.


Huatulco 2022

2022 World Triathlon Cup Huatulco on 17-18 June.

Huatulco is a World Cup event in Mexico.

Sprint format: 750m 1 lap swim - 20 km 4 lap bike - 5km 2 lap run.

The most challenging aspect is the heat and humidity, which can become greater if there is also rain.

The swim is a beach start with a fairly simple shore break to negotiate. Navigation is simple and the shortest route is to the right of the start line facing the water.

There is a long (50sec at high intensity) run to T1 and a 400m hill at 15% gradient out of T1. The bike generally remains as one pack. The video has highlights on this.

The bike course is open, with corners you can pedal through, although it does tighten up as you approach T2. Stay to the left on approach to T2. The approach is fast and some athletes received penalties in the past for overshooting the dismount line.

The run out of T2 negotiates the same hill as the bike, so having a fast T2 is critical. The run was where the race is most often won. Be prepared for a hot, fast run.

Please note the final course details are published on triathlon.org here (link to) (https://triathlon.org/events/event/2022_world_triathlon_cup_huatulco) and will be presented at the Athlete briefing.