Marisol Casado pictured at the triathlon test event held at Hyde Park (ATR)
(ATR) The International Triathlon Union president tells Around the Rings that London's iconic backdrop is the most important aspect of the competition at next summer’s Olympics.
“It’s very important to have a visual backdrop,” Marisol Casado told ATR.
“For us, we really like to race in the centre of the city. This is not a stadium, we are in the street, we are in the park... if they technically make a good course we are very happy with this.”
She was speaking with ATR at the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Series in Hyde Park Sunday where torrential rain caused some problems underfoot for athletes but could not dampen the spirits of the hundreds of spectators lining the course.
Hyde Park is part of the Olympic triathlon course, which saw racing through the Wellington Memorial, down Constitution Hill and around Buckingham Palace, offering iconic backgrounds for all of the weekend action.
After the women’s event on Saturday morning, there were some complaints about the surface of the course.
Emma Snowsill, who came fifth in the women’s event, voiced her complaints about the race course to Australia’s Herald Sun, saying: "I don't really think it is Olympic standard. I think it is a bit too higgledy piggledy... lots of uneven surfaces.
"It would be nice to see if they could smooth it out a bit.. there's lots of barriers on the road and lots of plastic flooring and stuff and you kind of get tripped up a bit."
Team GB’s Alistair Brownlee, who won the men’s event Sunday, said that the heavy rain “made it more difficult in the corners especially on the red tarmac which becomes very slippy".
Athletes prepare for the triathlon swim (ATR)
a Spanish IOC member, stressed the importance of safety for the athletes.
She told ATR: “Of course safety is our number one priority. Today was a very good test – we are in London, we are not in Madrid where it would be very hot. It was very heavy rain, we were lucky that it was right after the bike because with the bike it is more dangerous.
"If we have it during the bike, this is something that is hard to manage.”
“It would be very weird if we cancelled a race. We can ask to postpone a race to see if the rain will pass, but if it starts after the
The finish line for triathletes (ATR)
race has started, normally nothing happens.”
In the London leg of the test event, the race included a 1,500m swim in the Serpentine, seven laps of the bike course, which moved out of the park into Hyde Park corner towards Buckingham Palace and back to the park, and four laps of the run course.
London 2012's head of competition David Luckes emphasised to ATR that safety is of paramount importance but said there was a limit to what organizers could do.
“We take safety of the athletes very seriously, and after this event we will be sitting down with the ITU and have a debriefing on the event as a whole to evaluate how it went," he said.
“It is an outdoor event, so there is only so much that we can control.”
Luckes hailed the event as a “tremendous success”, saying LOCOG was able to test almost everything that will be in place for next year’s Games.
“We were able to test out our new transition platform with the wires going underneath so that made it wider, and we had the new swimming pontoon,” he said. "
"We were also able to test putting in the necessary road closures, that will be in place next year, with no problem.”
The event also gave LOCOG the opportunity to do some rigorous technology tests and to deploy over 600 volunteers to marshall the course.
Reported by Christian Radnedge
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