Everything is ready in Vina del mar, the “tourists capital” of Chile, for the Pan American Games. Triathlon is on the schedule with the individual events being staged on Thursday, 2 November, and the fast and furious Mixed Relay taking place on Saturday, 4 November. Luisa Baptista (BRA) and Crisanto Grajales (MEX) return to defend their Pan American titles but the start lists are packed with talent, with athletes also chasing valuable points on the Olympic Ranking.
Wearing the one on the day will be Mexican rising star Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal. She is making her debut at the Major Games circuit in Chile after a breakthrough season that saw her on a podium of a World Triathlon Championship Series for the first time on her career, giving Mexico the first ever podium on the WTCS. Rosa had a fantastic start of the season but seems to be back on a form peak, after her bronze medal at the Brasilia World Cup only two weeks ago.
Mexico is lining up a strong team in Vina del Mar, including Lizeth Rueda Santos -who has had a few top 10 finishes in World Cups this season – and Anahi Alvarez Corral, still a U23 athlete but one of the fastest runners on the circuit.
If the Mexican athletes are known for their fast runs, the Brazilians are considered amongst the best swimmers of the world. Vittoria Lopes has a proving record of leaving the water in first place, and surely will be hard to beat in Vina del Mar. Along with Djenyfer Arnold and previous Pan American champion Luisa Baptista, they will try to break the race from the start.
Gina Sereno and Erika Ackerlund will be the USA representatives. Both of them great swimmers and solid runners, they will be indeed amongst the ones to watch and trying to have an impact on the race. Emy Legault (CAN) is also looking forward a solid performance that will consolidate her position on the Olympic rankings.
Maria Carolina Velasquez Soto (COL) is well used to race in South America, and already has proven that she can be fighting for top positions, after winning this year four Americas Triathlon Cups and the Central America & Caribbean Games.
Member of the World Triathlon Team, the young Colombian will be joined in Vina del Mar by another member of the World Triathlon Team, Erika Hawley (BER).
A total of 33 women representing 16 countries will line up this Thursday for the Standard distance race, facing a 1500m swim in one lap on the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, followed by six laps to cover 40km on a flat and technical bike course and finish with a 10km run along the El Sol beach.
Check here the full start list.
It will be Brazil’s Miguel Hidalgo, still a U23 athlete, wearing the number one and the athlete to beat in the Pan American Games. Coming to Chile right after striking gold at the Brasilia World Cup two weeks ago, and after a few top 10 finishes on the World Triathlon Championship Series circuit including the Pontevedra Finals, Hidalgo has proven to be really hard to beat, especially if it all comes to a run race.
But if this is the case, another Brazilian will be worth keeping an eye on: Manoel Messias. His run splits in Montreal WTCS and Abu Dhabi WTCS were worth a medal at both events. The battle with these two and the top ranked USA, Matthew MacElroy, will be epic if it all comes to the final kilometers on their running shoes, the three of them used to fast running splits.
But the line up in Vina del Mar also includes some really fast swimmers, like Chase McQueen (USA), Broke Hoel (CAN) and Martin Sobey (CAN), who will try to make an impact on the race from early on. Experienced riders like Seth Rider (USA), Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX) or Crisanto Grajales (MEX) -winner at the pan American Games in the last two editions- will also be ones to follow during the race.
The World Triathlon Team will well represented at the Pan American Games, with Chile’s Diego Moya leading the squad, looking forward to repeat in the Games the performance that gave him a silver medal at the Vina del mar World Cup last year.
Check the full start list here.