14 Oct 2012

Regular Auckland World Series triathlon leg in the offing

10:43 am on 14 October 2012

Organisers of this week's Triathlon Grand Final in Auckland are hopeful of being able to soon announce that they've secured a regular leg of the elite World Championship Series here.

The CEO of the event, Dave Beeche, says they're reasonably confident the International Triathlon Union will agree on an annual Auckland leg and he's hoping to be able to make an announcement within a week or so.

The Grand Final in Auckland counts for double points to determine the overall World Champion for 2012.

No New Zealander is seriously in the running for the title with Britain's Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Brownlee the current leader ahead of Spain's Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez in the men's category, while it's also down to two athletes in the women's field, with Australia's Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham leading Sweden's silver medallist Lisa Norden.

Christchurch's Andrea Hewitt is the best-placed local at fourth in the women's event, and could yet snatch a podium finish though the title seems well beyond the realms of possibility - while Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmell are 14th and 15th in the men's showdown.

London gold medallist and defending men's champion Alistair Brownlee has withdrawn from next week's Grand Final with appendicitis.

The Auckland event will host the biggest field ever in the age group races with 3001 athletes competing, 2400 of them coming from overseas.

Some 50,000 spectators are expected to watch the action next week around the compact Auckland course, which is centred on the waterfront for the 1.5-kilometre swim and nearby for the 40-kilometre bike leg and the 10-kilometre run. The finish line is on Queen's Wharf.