Could time trial heats change the face of triathlon?

Triathlon Plus - - Up to Speed -

A NEW RAC­ING for­mat will see triath­letes com­pete in fast and fu­ri­ous heats to earn their place in a grand fi­nal.

If suc­cess­ful, it could change the face of triathlon rac­ing.

The new time trial qual­i­fi­ca­tion for­mat, mak­ing its de­but at the ITU Triathlon World Cup 2016 in Kitzbühel on 19 June, will mean the top per­form­ers rac­ing twice in the same day.

Sup­port­ers say it will mean a fairer play­ing field as each racer gets a clear, un­in­hib­ited race start al­low­ing them to per­form to the best of their abil­ity and earn a cov­eted spot in the fi­nal.

The time trial qual­i­fi­ca­tion over a shorter dis­tance (twothirds the dis­tance of a stan­dard sprint) will be held first thing in the morn­ing. Ath­letes will go off at 30 sec­ond in­ter­vals with the top 30 rac­ers ad­vanc­ing to a su­per-sprint dis­tance (a third of the dis­tance of a reg­u­lar sprint) fi­nal later in the day.

“Kitzbühel is known for its in­no­vat­ing for­mats,” said ITU pres­i­dent and IOC mem­ber Marisol Casado. “In 2013, ath­letes en­dured one of the tough­est races we’ve ever pre­sented as they climbed and ran up Kitzbühel Horn Moun­tain as a part of the World Triathlon Se­ries.

“As we con­tinue ex­plor­ing ways in which we can evolve the sport, it’s my plea­sure to see this new for­mat tested out in such a for­ward-think­ing place like Kitzbühel.”

The fast and fu­ri­ous for­mat will pro­vide both an ideal race for ath­letes to hone their speed ahead of the Rio Olympics and make the event more ex­cit­ing for spec­ta­tors and TV view­ers, say or­gan­is­ers. “We are sure this new for­mat will high­light the abil­ity for in­di­vid­u­als to per­form,” said lo­cal or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee di­rec­tor Her­wig Grab­ner.

“The shorter dis­tance in the fi­nals will be highly at­trac­tive to tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ers, which will en­able us to show spec­ta­tors how fast and at­trac­tive our sport is.”

The dy­namic, quick-tempo race style also pro­vides a strong plat­form for Ju­nior and U23 ath­letes to pre­pare for the leap to elite rac­ing, adds the ITU.

The for­ward-think­ing Kitzbuhel event

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