HY-VEE With CHAMPIONSHIP
a $ 500,000 prize purse for the pros and prizes valued at $ 5,150 for the elite age group athletes (and $750 for each of the age group winners), the Hy-Vee championship is the richest Olympic- distance race in the sport for pros and agegroupers alike.
Set in Des Moines, Iowa, the Hy-Vee Triathlon put the small Midwestern town squarely on the international multisport map. Over the years it has routinely attracted the sport’s top stars – Canada’s very own Simon Whitfield won a five-way lean across the line in 2009 to take home a $200,000 winner’s cheque. Last year’s Olympic runner-up, Sweden’s Lisa Norden, capped her exceptional season off with an impressive win, while Javier Gomez made it a silver-medal sweep by winning the men’s race after finding himself sandwiched on the podium by the two Brownlees at the Olympics last year.
This year’s race promises to be every bit as exciting on the pro front, with Norden leading the qualifying standings heading into the championship. Norden will likely have some speedy competition, though, in the form of a bunch of other Olympic athletes who are now setting their sites on non- drafting events including American Laura Bennett, Australia’s Emma Moffatt and Chile’s Barbara Riveros. It would be fun to see Alicia Kaye, who is originally from Canada but now lives in the U. S. with husband Jarrod Shoemaker, compete for the big prize money in Des Moines, too. As we go to print Kaye is sitting second in the 5150 standings.
While the women’s race could very well be Norden- dominated, the men’s race will likely be close-fought. Gomez, having recently won the 5150 race in Zurich, will no- doubt arrive as the pre-race favourite, but he’ll once again face some tough competition. Former Australian Olympian Greg Bennett won in Des Moines two years ago, helping pad his lead as the sport’s highest prize money earner. He’s dreaming of an historic double – the Hy-Vee title followed a week later with a win at the 70.3 worlds. That won’t be easy – American Tim O’Donnell will likely have the same idea in mind. Add to the mix the Czech Republic’s Filip Ospaly and Kiwi-turned-American Matt Reed and you know there will be some hard racing for that $100,000 first-place cheque.
The pros aren’t the only ones excited about the event either. Age group competitors from around the world have been qualifying to compete at the Hy-Vee Championship at 5150 races (Canada’s lone event takes place in Muskoka) for their chance at some of bigleague prizes.