Ireland’s top ranked men, Bryan Keane and Ben Shaw will be competing in the 5th leg of 8 in the World Triathlon Series this Sunday.
With the absence of Britain’s Brownlee brothers victory is likely to be fought out between Spanish World Champion Javier Gomez and world number 3 and 4 ranked training mates Mario Mola and Richard Murray.
The Irish duo of Keane and Shaw are well placed for the race as they line up wearing number 15 and 20 respectably. Keane currently sits 25th in the series which ultimately decides the world champion. The former professional cyclist and international cross country runner opted to sit out the European Championships in Kitzbuhel as he continued his World Series preparations with training group, the Wollongong Wizards.
Keane and the Wizards based themselves in the Basque region of Spain using a competitive local race as preparation before making the trip to Chicago. The Cork speedster clocked a 15minute 5km in his last World Series outing in London after a bruising 750m swim and 20km chase on the bike, but prefers racing over double the distance.
This weekend’s 1500m swim in the Monroe Harbour before a 40km bike and 10km run through downtown Chicago is the distance Keane enjoys racing at and it makes sense as he looks to qualify for Rio 2016’s Olympic Triathlon. With a starting position of 15 and more distance to cover he will be looking to beat his starting rank and claim his first World Series top 10.
Ben Shaw has been training out of the National Aquatic Centre along with using the Wicklow Mountains for biking and Dublin’s Phoenix Park for his run training over the past 2 months. The 22 year old made the trip to the European Championships last weekend but was disappointed to puncture while in a great position towards the end of the bike.
The philosophical Brisbane born triathlete later tweeted “Love Kitzbuhel and the race but today wasn't meant to be,”
Shaw will the hoping that luck is on his side this weekend as he continues to climb to series leader board. With 66 men on the starting pontoon he will be hoping to get away from the carnage of the turn buoys with a quick opening swim, setting him up for a breakaway with a small pack.
“I enjoy going hard from the word go which I guess translates to being aggressive but I just like to work each discipline.” He told reporters at a recent sponsorship launch for Udo’s Choice.
Irish World Series regulars Aileen Reid, Conor Murphy and Russell White have opted out of the race as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the 24th of July. They will be joined by Ireland's top middle and long distance athlete Eimear Mullan and rising stars Emma Sharkey and Harry Speers. The exciting team relay format will take place on the 26th of July with the line-up of 2 males and 2 females yet to be announced.
Watch the Chicago World Triathlon Series live on the BBC Red Button or www.triathlonlive.tv at 18:30 on Saturday 28th for the Women’s Race and 22:00 on Sunday 29th for the Men’s Race.
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Credit: Delly Carr/ITU Media
Caption: Ben Shaw emerges from the 1500m swim at the Auckland World Triathlon Series
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