Race Previews

Epic Match-Ups...

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MINNEAPOLIS TRIATHLON - The 17th edition of this iconic event will take place at Lake Nokomis next Saturday, and we are anticipating some epic battles at the front. When "Hooty" --Mpls Tri director Scott Hutmacher--sent us a list of the 24-member Premier Division, four names leapt off the page: SEAN COOLEY, KEEGHAN HURLEY, GABY BUNTEN and HANNA GRINAKER. We would be flabbergasted if these athletes did not take the gold and silver medals for their respective genders next weekend.

Who do we think will win? And why?

Let's start with the women.

GABY BUNTEN - The defending women's champ at Minneapolis, Gaby has established herself in the last two seasons as one of the US's premier amatuer female Olympic distance athletes. Thus far in 2018, she has raced in three Olympic-distance contests, winning two of them and placing 2nd  in the other. She had faced Hanna twice previously, beating her at Minneapolis last year, but finishing a place behind her at Minneapolis in 2016. Gaby was named Minnesota Triathlete of the Year in 2017. Grinaker won that award in 2016. It's possible that the winner of this epic match-up will go on to claim the 2018 TOY.

HANNA GRINAKER - Hanna's first Olympic effort, her 2nd multi start ever, produced a 2:10 (Buffalo 2016). That's insane. Her 1:30:00 at Waconia was mind-blowingly fast, demonstrating pro-level sprint speed. And her recent effort at Liberty Half, which was abbreviated to a 63.4 (2K-56 miles -10K) showed her long course chops. Her time--3:40:34--suggested sub-4:30 speed at 70.3...

 

So, one might argue that Grinaker's versatility does not supersede Bunten's Olympic acumen. Someone else might argue that Hanna's abject speed at all distances gives her a slight edge. 

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The MTN Guys are going to wuss-out here. For us this match-up is too close to call. If the weather cooperates, we expect to see some wicked fast times, not quite in the Lendway-ian 2:05 area, but 2:06 or 2:07  is possible.

 

KEEGHAN HURLEY - The 2017 Minnesota Rookie of the Year received his pro license earlier this season. His swim and run are especially strong. His bike skills are still developing, and his best time at Olympic distance is 1:58. He will probably have to eclipse that by three or more minutes on Saturday if he hopes to beat Cooley.

 

SEAN COOLEY - Sean, the 2017 Minnesota Triathlete of the Year, has placed 2nd at Minneapolis in each of the last two seasons. Last year his time was 1:55:29, placing him just 24 seconds behind the winner Evan Culbert of Iowa. Culbert has since gotten his pro card. In '16, Sean's time was 1:58. He can be counted on to go well under the 2-hour mark, thanks largely to his massive bike skills. He'll need a big lead going into T2 this weekend, but we think he'll make that happen. And even if Hurley betters his Olympic PR by two minutes, we don't think it will be sufficient to overtake Cooley.

 

The Minneapolis Tri is so much more than it's elite competition. It is a grand experience with somethng for everyone, including unmatched amenities. RACE WEBSITE

 

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