Olympic champion skips Auckland tri event

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 11:22 13/03/2013

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Britain's Brownlee brothers are notable absentees but there is still star quality in the field for the world series triathlon opener in Auckland next month.

World No 1 Jonathan Brownlee and his brother, Alistair, the Olympic champion, have opted to skip the early-season Auckland race on April 6, the first of eight rounds in the world championship series.

Organisers preferred to focus on who was coming to Auckland when the elite men's and women's fields were unveiled, though, with world No 2 Javier Gomez of Spain, the Olympic silver medallist, and world No 3 Dimitry Polyanskiy of Russia the headline men’s names.

Six of the top-10 ranked male triathletes will line up, while five of the top-10 ranked females, including three of the top four, are confirmed starters.

The podium trio from last year’s Auckland race, world No 2 Anne Haug of Germany, Gwen Jorgenson of the United States and Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz (Chile) all return, while world No 3 Andrea Hewitt and 10th-ranked Kate McIlroy lead the home charge.

Ryan Sissons, the world No 19, is the highest ranked Kiwi in the men’s field.

‘‘We are going to see some of the most powerful athletes but also nations on the start line in Auckland next month with six of the top-10 in the world lining up plus former world and Olympic champion Jan Frodeno (Germany),’’ said race organiser Dave Beeche.

‘‘The Russian, German and French in particular are sending very strong men’s teams to Auckland, and of course we have the continued emergence of Ryan Sissons into the very best in the world as he leads the next generation of New Zealanders in the post-London era.

‘‘The message we had last year was the athletes enjoyed the tough and challenging course, which is reflected in the quality of the field for an event that comes very early in the season after a busy Olympic campaign for most in 2012.’’

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