• Fri March 31 2006
  • Posted Mar 31, 2006
– Elite Competitors Expected to Vie for Sport’s Richest Purse – Des Moines, Iowa (March 31, 2006) - Des Moines will join the ranks of leading cities of the world when it hosts the first Hy-Vee ITU World Cup Triathlon in June 2007. Ric Jurgens, president and chief executive officer of Hy-Vee, Inc., said Des Moines will be only the fourth U.S. city to host a World Cup elite triathlon since the competition began. Only Honolulu, New York City and St. Petersburg, Florida have hosted ITU World Cup events in America,” he noted. “None are planned in the U.S. during 2006 and, so far, ours is the only one scheduled in our nation in 2007. So our role as hosts is somewhat rare and somewhat remarkable, given the relative size of our city.” Triathlon’s Richest Purse The Des Moines event will be the richest ever on the elite triathlon circuit. The first-place winners in the men’s and women’s divisions will each take home paychecks of $200,000 from a total pro purse of more than $700,000. Jurgens also said Hy-Vee will host a concurrent citizens's race – the Hy-Vee Triathlon - for enthusiasts who will compete in age group and team events. They will be vying for more than $40,000 in gifts and prizes. The elite and amateur triathlons will be run on Sunday, June 17, 2007. But Jurgens said the entire weekend of June 15-17 will have events designed to encourage health and fitness. We will have a lot of activities for families and people of all ages during Friday and Saturday, too,” he said. Triathlon Basics Triathlon was invented in the early 1970s by the San Diego Track Club as an alternative workout to track training. It encompasses three distinct sports: swimming, cycling and running. The sport has grown rapidly in popularity. The ITU, triathlon’s world sanctioning body, was founded in 1989 in Avignon, France. Triathlon was added to the Olympic schedule for the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia. No other sport achieved Olympic program status in such a short time, according to the ITU. For the Des Moines events, event components are a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bicycle ride, and a 10-kilometer run. All of the distances match those of their individual Olympic events. (For more on the sport, see the Triathlon Fact Sheet.) World Triathlon Championships, Olympic Games Qualifying In addition to the record-large purse, the Hy-Vee ITU World Cup Triathlon is also expected to draw top athletes because it is a qualifying event for both the 2007 World Triathlon Championships in Hamburg, Germany in September 2007, and the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. Although elites and amateurs will race the same day, they’ll compete on slightly different courses. Both elites and amateurs will swim their 1.5 kilometers at Gray’s Lake, but their treks will diverge at that point. Amateurs, on an “out-and back” route, will cycle as far as West Des Moines’ Jordan Creek Mall, then return to Gray’s Lake Park by the same path. Then they’ll take off on a 10-kilometer run to downtown and finish at the State Capitol. After their swim segment, the elites will cycle directly to downtown Des Moines and complete a six-lap, criterium-style race. They’ll transition from bicycle to running shoes at Finkbine Drive in front of the Capitol, complete four laps around a course in downtown Des Moines and cross the finish line back at the Capitol. Economic Impact The ITU World Cup and Hy-Vee Triathlon events will attract a significant number of competitors. The elite competition will be relatively small – it’s limited to 75 men and 75 women from among the top 125 in each division. But the amateur event is expected to draw more than 2,000. And the audience will have a distinct international flavor, both on the ground in Iowa and through telecasts in more than 100 countries around the world. Jurgens said that his company began thinking about hosting a major triathlon partly because he had enjoyed participating on a triathlon team. “I was amazed at how much excitement and enthusiasm a triathlon generates,” Jurgens said. “We believe that bringing an event like this to Des Moines is beneficial in many ways. One of the most important is that the triathlons, and all the associated activities, promote the concept of fitness and health. That’s important to Hy-Vee, because the more fit we are, the more healthy we will be. And that’s good for all of us.” Hy-Vee, Inc., headquartered in West Des Moines, is an employee-owned corporation operating 222 retail stores in seven Midwestern states. For 2005, the company recorded total sales of $4.9 billion, ranking it among the top 20 supermarket chains and the top 35 private companies in the U.S.

  • Source:
  • Author:
  • Posted By: