World cup event to help decide Olympic triathlon roster

Michelle Blessing reports that the sunrises are beautiful at the site of the Olympic Triathlon race course.  Credit: Nick Wilson /Allsport
This weekend, Olympic dream-chasing gets serious at the International Triathlon Union world cup race in Sydney, Australia, April 16.

This race will follow the same course as the Olympic event slated to take place Sept. 16 and 17 and serves both as a test event for organizers and an Olympic qualifier for several countries including the United States, France, Germany and Spain.

The start list for women's race is a virtual who's-who of triathlon with five world champions slated to compete.

Aussie multisport luminaries like Michellie Jones, Emma Carney, Nicole Hackett, Joanne King and Jackie Gallagher will all be vying for a spot on their country's team.

American hopes rest in the hands of Barb Lindquist, who has been on a tear of late; Siri Lindley, who seems to be peaking at the right time; and Jennifer Gutierrez, who racked up a ton of ITU points this winter.

For the men, it looks to be a wide-open race. Any of several Sydney wannabe's could break the tape after all is said and done.

Among the favorites to watch are members of the Aussie contingent including Formula One champ Miles Stewart, 1997 world champion Chris McCormack and Greg Bennett.

New Zealand's Hamish Carter, fresh off a win at the ITU's Big Island world cup race, should figure in the mix as well as 1999 Pan Am Games champion Gilberto Gonzalez from Venezuela.

What about the Americans? Well, what about them?

Since the 1999 world championships in Montreal, no one has heard much from Pan Am silver medalist Hunter Kemper, Nick Radkewich or any of the other U.S. men.

In the race for Olympic triathlon berths, however, silence is not golden.

Because of the U.S. men's inactivity, the three slots that were open to the United States at the end of 1999 have dwindled to just one.

This puts the U.S. men in the unenviable position of having to log impressive finishes both at the April 16 test event and at the April 30 world championships in Perth.

More Olympic triathlon trials coverage:

Harrop, Stewart and Hill drop out of Olympic qualifier

U.S. men's triathlon team scrambles to regain spots

Jaws 5: Sharks in Sydney?

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