The showcase event of the 2019 Pontevedra ITU Long Distance World Championships has attracted a deep list of long course specialists, vying for the world titles, across both the men’s and women’s races. The course features a 1.5km swim, 110km bike leg that surrounds the Spanish city and then finishes with a 30km run, across four laps, that tours around the renowned Lerez River.
Headlining the men’s field is 2018 long distance world champion Pablo Dapena, from Spain, who is charged to put on a powerful performance in front of a home crowd to defend the title.
“In my case, and Javi’s, the reduction of the swim circuit will make things worse for us, in long distance triathlons, there is fewer stronger swimmers as in the Olympic distance events. I am looking forward to racing at home here in Pontevedra, it is very special,” Dapena said.
Spain’s royalty of triathlon, Javier Gomez, has returned to the ITU racing circuit and after securing the silver medal in his comeback race in the World Triathlon Series race in Bermuda last weekend, the Spaniard will lay down fierce competition for his rivals.
“I think I have recovered well from Bermuda after a hard race. I am feeling good and I am so exited to compete here at home. It is a distance I am not preparing particularly for but I am going out to fight as I always do, give the best of myself and try to be as strong as I can.
“We are all going to get out from the same start line and doesn’t matter what have we won in the past, if you want to win tomorrow you have to prove it in the race, who ever is going to be,” said Gomez.
Multiple IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 champion Terenzo Bozzone, from New Zealand, will prove to be stiff competition. Bozzone has been training with Dapena and Gomez here in Pontevedra over the past week.
Long course specialist Aliaksandr Vasilevich, from Belarus, is wearing number two and will be aiming to stick with the leaders.
Switzerland’s Ruedi Wild, silver medallist in the 2018 Fyn ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships and Cyril Viennot from France, who was 9th across the finish line in Fyn in 2018, will be looking to make an impact on the men’s field.
With so many strong Spaniards on the line, looking to perform at their best on the world stage in front of a home crowd, the battle for podium places will be for the taking.
“It is my second objective of the season, things went good so far and I am feeling good, it is a International race with a lot of important people. The masculine race is going to be a very beautiful competition, the objective is to do it well and get in a good position to the finish line,” said Gurutze Frades from Spain.
Belgium’s Alexandra Tondeur is at the top of the elite women’s start list to take on the long distance world championships in Pontevedra. Tondeur was sixth position in the 2018 Fyn ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships.
Demark’s Camila Pedersen will be one to watch. Pedersen lay down a powerful race in the 2018 long distance world championships and just missed the podium in fourth place.
The field will be hotly contested with fellow Danish triathlete Maja Stage Nielsen in the mix.
“I think it will be a challenging swim, because the current of the river and it is going to be a tough swim no matter how long it is.
“The field is stacked with alot of us at the same level and we can expect a very close result “
Sweden’s Asa Lundstrom, a strong contender across the long distance race format, is excited to race in Spain and said the course is well suited to her.
“I know it will be a challenging course and challenges are good for me. I know is going to be a tough race and those are the ones I prefer the most,” Lundstrom said.
The Spanish team representatives are motivated to perform in front of a home crowd.
“This is my first world championship of the season. I am prepared and I am so excited that it’s at home. My expectations is to do my best and give it my all until the finish line,” said Saleta Castro from Spain.
Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores, Mayor of Pontevedra, opened the formalities at the official elite lng distance world championships pres conference.
“After the equator of the race I can say things has been even better than we expected. There hasn’t been any incidents, the people, the volunteers, the police, all the people working are doing an amazing work, all federations an sportsmen and women are happy,” said the Mayor.
The 2019 Pontevedra ITU Long Distance World Championships will be streaming live on April 5 from 8.00am local time. Follow the athletes and races at TriathlonLIVE.