Canadas men to go it alone in world triathlon championship series final

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Simon Whitfield won an Olympic silver medal in triathlon with the unique strategy of a teammate working for him on the bike leg of the race.
That won't be the case in Sunday's world championship series final in Gold Coast, Australia.
Whitfield, Edmonton's Paul Tichelaar, Kyle Jones of Oakville, Ont., and Victoria's Brent McMahon will race against each other as well as the best in the world.
"We're suggesting to all of our guys that we need everyone to race for themselves this year to have a crack at establishing themselves in this international field to see where we're at," Triathon Canada high-performance director Kurt Innes said from Australia.
It was a controversial strategy, but one that ultimately worked, to have lowly-ranked Colin Jenkins named to the men's Olympic team to serve as Whitfield's domestique.
Triathlon is an individual sport, but drafting is allowed and athletes can help each other improve their positions on the bike by taking turns riding at the front of the pack. Those decisions are usually made on the fly.
Jenkins covered off attempted breakaways at the front of the peloton to help Whitfield stay among the leaders in last year's Olympics in Beijing. Whitfield is a fleet runner and narrowly lost a footrace with Germany's Jan Frodeno for gold.
The Canadian team might employ the star-domestique strategy again at the 2012 Olympics in London, but there's no plan for it in Australia.
"Every man for himself this year," Whitfield said in an email to The Canadian Press. "As it's the first year of the (Olympic) quad, I think it's a great opportunity for all of us."
The women's race is Saturday. The Canadian team includes Vancouver's Lauren Groves, Montreal's Kathy Tremblay and Victoria's Kirsten Sweetland.
The final race in each event will be 1.5-kilometre swim in the Pacific Ocean followed by a 40-km bike and 10-km run on a course that is "pancake-flat" fast, according to Innis. The Gold Coast is a resort city on Australia's east coast.
"It's a cross between Las Vegas and Waikiki," is how Innes describes the area. "It's very weird. We just don't have a similar environment in Canada."
The event is the finale of the International Triathlon Union's new world championship series. The winners of the overall series will be crowned world champions.
Australia's Emma Moffatt and Britain's Alistair Brownlee currently lead the women's and men's ranking respectively.
Triathlon Canada considers these the most important races of the year for the team. The prize money for the final is US$250,000, which is the most of any ITU race. Another $500,000 will be distributed in bonus money among the top 20 in the series standings.
The purse for the final draws the best competitors and thus simulates the stakes for the 2012 Olympics.
"We're here to win medals absolutely," Innes said. "We've got no reason to believe we can't do that on both the men's and women's elite fields."
CBC will televise the women's race Saturday live at 12:15 a.m. ET and the men's Sunday at 1 a.m. ET.
Canada got off to a promising start at the event as Edmonton's Paula Findlay won bronze in the women's world under-23 championship Friday.
Andrew Yorke of Caledon, Ont.., Andrew McCartney of Victoria raced layer in the men's event.
Canada also has six athletes racing in the world junior (under-18) event Sunday.
Connor Hammond of London, Ont., Ian Donald of Nepean, Ont., Winnipeg's Rachel Edwards and Victoria's Matt Sharpe, Kyla Coates and Alison Hooper make up Canada's junior team.

Organizations: International Triathlon Union, Canadian Press, CBC

Geographic location: Canada, Australia, Victoria Gold Coast Edmonton Oakville Beijing Germany London Vancouver Montreal Pacific Ocean Las Vegas Waikiki Britain Caledon London, Ont. Nepean Winnipeg

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