This Sunday will be a very special occasion for athletics in Barbados.
Or more precisely, for tri-athletes.
Making a return to the International Triathlon Union’s racing scene after a successful inauguration last year, the Bridgetown Sprint Pan American Cup will host several talented tri-athletes in what should be a highly competitive event.
Barbados has succeeded in attracting quality fields for both men and women’s action with many future stars set to go at each other just after day break. An international contingent is assembled from some nine countries representing three continents.
Triathlon is continuing to grow throughout the Caribbean, with events such as this providing athletes of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Cuba and of course Barbados, the opportunity to compete on an international stage.
The sprint distance event begins with a running beach start into the sea for a 750m swim, followed immediately by a flat and fast draft-legal 20k bike of five criterium style loops, before being sealed with a 5km run to the finish. Conditions should be warm but pleasant for the athletes both in the water and out on to the bike and run. With none of last year’s podium finishers returning, the door is open for fresh faces to claim stake to the $5,000 purse.
Leading the charge in the men’s field is Barbadian Jason Wilson who started the 2013 season with an ITU victory just four weeks ago in Chile.
Wilson will be joined by Canadian training mates, Alexander Hinton and Tyler Bredschneider, who will be looking to equal Wilson’s start with a victory of their own in Bridgetown.
Coming out of the swim one should see Wilson (BAR), Bredschneider (CAN), Luke Farkas (USA), and Jesse Thomas (CAN) pushing the pace to gather a gap onto the bike.
However, given the shorter swim this gap will be small and may come back within the first transition or early stages of the cycle if the chasers are fully committed.
Down to the run
Given the firepower up front one should see a group of a half dozen or so coming off the bike together to settle things on the run.
An increasing number of ITU events are coming down to sprint finishes after almost an hour of racing and therefore spectators should be prepared for an exciting finish.Other notables in the men’s field include solid swim-bike athlete Eric Lagerstrom, Canadian junior national champion Tyler Mislawchuk, and talented Andrew Bysice (CAN) who has enough talent to steal the show.
However Wilson can expect his every effort to be cheered lustily by adoring home supporters who will be willing him on to victory.
The women’s field is headlined by reigning North American junior champion Amelie Kretz of Canada. Fellow Canadian and training mate Dominika Jamnicky will push the pace alongside Kretz at the front of the race.
Coming out of the water it could be these two Canadians along with Jones and Gartman of the USA forming a small lead group. If this group works efficiently together over the 20k then it could be these four that decide the podium positions over the final 5km run to the tape.
No matter the score, all athletes racing in Bridgetown this weekend are in for a treat. The spectacle of the island, paired with fast racing and a harbour lights after-party, will create a lasting impression on the athletes.
The action on the Spring Garden Highway for the women begins at 7:30 a.m. followed shortly by the men at 9:30 a.m.††††