Chicago’s tenure as the U.S. capital of elite triathlon racing probably will extend through 2018.
As first reported Thursday on chicagotribune.com, Chicago has been designated host of an International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series event in 2014 and 2015.
After the Friday press conference formally announcing the events coming to the city, USA Triathlon chief executive Rob Urbach confirmed the event could remain here in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Deputy mayor Steven Koch had mentioned those years in passing during his remarks to the press.
“We currently have a two-year deal,” Urbach said. “We would like to have the opportunity to extend that.”
Urbach said that decision will be made after the first World Triathlon Series races June 26-28, 2014. They are a regular event of the World Series circuit, the most prestigious annual races in international triathlon, which draw nearly all the world’s best professional athletes.
The 2015 event, to take place the third or fourth week of September, is the series Grand Final, which determines the overall champion. It also will serve as world championships in several age-group categories (Under-23, junior, aquathlon) as well as in paratriathlon.
USA Triathlon likely will designate it as a qualifying event for the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. ITU president Marisol Casado of Spain said Friday she also expects several other countries to include the 2015 Grand Final in their Olympic selection process.
“It was a little bit of a surprise this event is coming to Chicago over some other cities with apparent natural advantages,” Urbach said.
Chicago beat San Diego, Los Angeles, Boston and Miami to become the U.S. candidate for the Grand Final.
According to Koch, the city’s financial contribution will be limited to the policing and logistical support it provides to similar events on the lakefront.
The 2014 event will include sprint, Olympic distance and paratriathlon races for amateurs.
In both years, the professional race will be concentrated in Grant Park to maximize spectator opportunities. Under current plans, the 40-kilometer (24.8-mile) bike leg will have eight laps, the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) run two laps.
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