The ITU recently announced the that the 2009 Team World Championships are coming to Des Moines, home of the Hy-Vee Triathlon. This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting weekends in triathlon!
The team relay format sounds pretty exciting and spectator friendly. Taken to the age-group level, there could be some really cool races designed around this concept. Read the full release below:
February 25, 2009 -- The International Triathlon Union (ITU) is pleased to announce the location for the 2009 ITU Triathlon Team World Championships will be in West Des Moines, Iowa, USA on June 28 in conjunction with the Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup. This is the first time a team world championship has been held on U.S. soil and the first time in ITU history that the teams will be mixed. In total, the weekend will boast $1 million USD in prize money.
"The team world championships are crucial in ITU's quest to have a team event on the Olympic programme," said ITU Secretary General Loreen Barnett. "Recently the IOC Executive Board approved the mixed relay for the Youth Olympic Games, signifying the IOC's support of the concept. It also represented an important step forward for the team relay's inclusion in future Olympic Games"
The ITU Triathlon Team World Championships will consist of a 4 x mixed relay. Each federation will enter a team consisting of two women and two men. Each member will complete a super sprint triathlon (250m swim, 7km bike and 1.8km run) in succession, with the first team across the line representing the top triathlon nation in the world. A $70,000 USD prize purse will be available for the top three teams (1st - $40,000, 2nd - $20,000, 3rd - $10,000).
"We would be delighted to be the first to stage the mixed relay format at a world championship level. The quick pace of the race makes it especially exciting to watch. It's a real crowd pleaser," said Andy McCann, Hy-Vee Triathlon co-chair.
The Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup will be staged on Saturday, June 27, and the ITU Triathlon Team World Championships on Sunday, June 28.
The million dollar weekend will continue to be showcased in 2009 with U.S. national television coverage on NBC.
American triathlon's elder statesman Hunter Kemper qualified for his third straight Olympics this past weekend, fending off Andy Potts to place sixth and be the top American finisher at the Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon World Cup race in Des Moines, Iowa.
Sarah Haskins joins Laura Bennett and Julie Swail Ertel on the women's Olympic triathlon team. Haskins, who won the silver medal at the 2008 ITU World Championships in Vancouver in early June, finished sixth in Des Moines and punched her first Olympic ticket by beating Sarah Groff.
More race info can be found on the ITU website , including video wrap-ups of both men's and women's races (click here and then click on Hy-Vee in the list to the left of the video player).