Don can expect dogfight | SASCOC - SASCOC

Don can expect dogfight

Both the men’s and women’s elite field at the ATU Africa Triathlon Cup ÔÇô doubling up as the South African Championships – promise intense racing in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

On offer is not only the title but also valuable ITU points and British Olympian Tim Don is gleefully looking to snap up some those points. He will however have a battle royal on his hands with the likes of Erhard Wolfaardt, Claude Eksteen, Hendrik De Villiers and Richard Murray all looking for the win on home soil.

Don is a hard grafting triathlete with a never-say-die attitude. De Villiers knows all about the Brit, having raced him a few times in London and will know that Don is not shy to do a lot of the dirty work to gain a win.

Erhard Wolfaardt has for some time now been the man to beat in South Africa, but made the mistake of doing all the work at the Tshwane Africa Cup in November in 2010 and finishing fifth overall. The lesson from Tshwane will not go unheeded and it is a safe bet Wolfaardt will not do all the work during the bike leg.

Claude Eksteen has had a quiet build up to the Africa Cup, as has De Villiers. Both though are wily campaigners at this level and will be amongst the favourites for the title.

Another to watch will be Richard Murray who won the WP Championships and the 11 Global Triathlon in February. Murray’s Achilles heel, the swim, is now no longer a factor after lots of hard work in the water. He was forced to withdraw from the XTerra SA Champs in Grabouw due to fatigue, but that enforced rest could well play into his favour.

Other than Don, there are a number of foreign athletes who have entered the Africa Cup as well. Included in the field is America’s Craig Robinson who finished in the top 20 at the World Championships in 2009 as well Daniel Rodriguez (Spain) whose best performance was 27th at the 2010 Sprint World Championships in Lausanne.

The women’s race should also prove to be a close one. It will be hard to pick a favourite amongst Andrea Steyn, Mari Rabie (both of South Africa, Great Britain’s Jacqueline Slack, Croatia’s Daria Pletikapa and Hungary’s Zsofia Toth. Steyn finished seventh at the 2010 World Duathlon Championships, Slack’s best performance is her 17th overall at the Sprint World Championships in Lausanne, whilst Rabie is a known fighter.

All of these factors should make for some close racing.