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Posted: June 26, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Triathlon: World's Best Triathletes Racing for $1 Million in Des Moines

Hy-Vee World Cup also to feature inaugural Team Relay World Championship

DES MOINES, Iowa (June 26, 2009) - U.S. triathletes get the treat of staying "home" for consecutive weeks for back-to-back high-level ITU races.

Read this press release at the USA Triathlon website.

With the inaugural Dextro Energy ITU World Championship Series event in Washington, D.C., now in the books, all attention turns to Des Moines, Iowa for the ITU Hy-Vee World Cup tomorrow.

The event - the third race in the USA Triathlon Twenty-12 Elite Series - once again features a prize purse of $1 million and a participant list of world champions and Olympic medalists, including a strong contingent from the United States.

New to the weekend festivities is the inaugural 4 x Mixed Team World Championship, set to take place on Sunday, the day after the ITU Hy-Vee World Cup.

With the IOC selections for additional events for the London 2012 Olympiad approaching, this is a great showcase for a possible team event at the Olympic Games.

The event will bring together the world's top triathlon nations as their teams of two women and two men battle it out over the 250m swim, 7k bike, 1.8k run. Each athlete will complete one leg with a transition area set up allowing them to tag their compatriots.

"We are really excited about the Team World Championships and especially being the host country, we want to win," said USAT Sport Performance Director Scott Schnitzspahn. "The new format of men and women competing together is outstanding. We have great depth and team camaraderie so this is a perfect event for us to do well."

The United States has announced four teams that will be racing for the red, white and blue: two National Team level squads, an elite development team, and a team of junior athletes representing Multisport Madness, a club near Chicago.

USA Team A
Laura Bennett
Sara McLarty
Tim O'Donnell
Matt Reed

USA Team AA
Ethan Brown
Sarah Groff
Sarah Haskins
Jarrod Shoemaker

USA Team B
Greg Billington
Kevin Collington
Mary Beth Ellis
Kate Ross

USA Juniors
Jessica Clay
Jennifer Howland
Ben Kanute
Lukas Verzbicas

Joining the U.S. are teams from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Portugal, Japan, Mexico and the Ukraine, although organizers are expecting more countries to sign up once their athletes are confirmed for the Hy-Vee World Cup.

Countries such as Canada and New Zealand are also offering their youth and junior athletes a chance to practice and partake in the mixed relay format, which is included on the programme of next year's 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games.

"Developmentally, the distances are short so juniors can race alongside the elites and see how they stack up, work on their skills and speed, and gain valuable experience and motivation for the future," said Schnitzspahn. "I hope that this format continues to grow and is eventually accepted at the Olympic Games."

An early team announcement from Australia indicates that their quartet will include Olympic gold and bronze medalists, Emma Snowsill and Emma Moffatt, alongside Commonwealth Games Champion, Brad Kahlefeldt and national champion, Courtney Atkinson. Both New Zealand and Canada are expected to enter two-time Olympic Games medalists Bevan Docherty and Simon Whitfield.

This exciting action packed modification to the usual ITU triathlon format of an individual 1,500m swim, 40k cycle, 10k run, is highly anticipated by athletes and National Federations alike and coverage will appear on NBC.

This new exciting format of racing is aimed at introducing a new generation to the sport with smaller spectator friendly courses, faster, more intense action and more manageable distances for potential participants. The ratio of two women to two men also fits triathlon's proud history of gender equality with equal prize money and racing opportunities.

An age group Olympic distance race is also scheduled for Saturday.

Read the full World Cup race preview from the ITU.

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