Para-triathletes have one last chance to fine tune their races ahead of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Grand Final later this month with the Edmonton ITU World Para-Triathlon Event (WPE). And eyes will be on Canada’s home favourite Stefan Daniel.
Daniel, just 18, will highlight the PT4 men’s class at the two-day competition, which runs 5-6 September and is the last race of the WPE series this year.
Last year’s Para-Triathlon World Championships were held in Edmonton, where Daniel impressed by scoring silver. He has looked strong on his road to Rio 2016 – where the sport will make its Paralympic debut – with a win at May’s London World Para-Triathlon Event. At the Rio Test Event in August, Daniel came in second, a minute short of Germany’s Martin Schulz, who is the PT4 favourite at this year’s Grand Finals in Chicago, USA; the Para-Triathlon World Championships are scheduled for 18 September.
For now at Edmonton, Daniel’s main competition comes from the USA’s Chris Hammer, who just missed the podium at last year’s World Championships. While Daniel excels in the swim, Hammer is strong on the bike and run. Russian Alexander Yalchik will likely also make push for the podium, having won the World Para-Triathlon Event in Yokohama in May and has reached the podium in most of his races this year.
The women’s PT2 sport class will also see a tight showdown, as both the USA’s Allysa Seely and Finland’s Liisa Lilja have enjoyed success this year.
Seely recently joined her US teammates on the podium at the Rio Test Event with a bronze-medal performance before upgrading that bronze to silver at the Detroit World Para-Triathlon Event just weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Lilja is on the rise and showing great progress after enduring an injury last year. In London, she outraced Seely by three minutes, en route to taking silver. The Finnish athlete has since finished second in two more WPEs, making her one to watch.
Italy’s Giovanni Achenza and France’s Alexandre Paviza are expected to set the pace in the men’s PT1, with South Africa’s Anton Swanepoel expecting to push the pair.
In the men’s PT3, the USA’s Andre Cilliers is hot off a dominating performance at the Detroit WPE, where he crushed the competition by more than four minutes.
The women’s PT5 sport class features a number of women that could cross the line first, including Canada’s Christine Robbins, Ireland’s Catherine Walsh and the USA’s Amy Dixon.
Start list for the 2015 Edmonton ITU World Para-Triathlon Event can be found on the ITU’s website.