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Elite Series to Wrap up in San Francisco


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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — For the second straight year, the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island will host the series championship of the USA Triathlon Haul to the Great Wall Elite Series.

The race – the fifth in the 2008 series – is set for Saturday, Nov. 8 in San Francisco, Calif. It will also serve as an ITU Pan American Cup.

Heading into the race, 2008 Olympians Matt Reed and Julie Ertel are in comfortable positions, having already secured the 2008 series titles after impressive wins at the USAT Elite National Championships in Portland in late September. The elite championship wins were worth double points, and with both athletes having already won previous races in the series (Reed in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Ertel in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Geneva, N.Y.), they have established insurmountable leads in the point standings.

As the series winners, Reed and Ertel will each take home $5,000 and another $5,000 from swimwear and sports apparel giant Speedo.

Don't think that not having a shot at the overall title will deter any of the remaining competitors from racing all-out in San Francisco. A $40,000 prize purse that goes 10-deep for both the men's and women's races is still on the line, as is another $10,000 to be split among the second and third place male and female finishers in the series.

Speedo is also supplying another $5,000 in bonuses for the top three U.S. men and women in the race and a $2,500 bonus to both a U.S. man and woman if they finish second in the series.

Reed and fellow Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker highlight the race start list. Three-time Olympian Hunter Kemper will not compete, as he recovers from hernia surgery. Kemper won the San Francisco event and the overall series title in 2007. Andy Potts also will not race as he looks to defend his 70.3 World title in Clearwater that same day.

Look for Brian Fleischmann (50 points) and Joe Umphenour (35 points) to battle for the second and third spots in the series. Fleischmann won the series' third event at the Musselman Triathlon in Geneva, N.Y., in July, while Umphenour is coming off a second-place result at Elite Nationals. And don't count out two-time U23 National Champion Ethan Brown, who is close behind with 30 points in the series.

On the women's side, the start list will include Ertel – who won the event and series in 2007 – and World ranked No. 4 Sarah Groff. Groff, who currently stands third in the series with 30 points, looks to have that position locked up with no other series contenders on the start list for this weekend's race. But the race should prove exciting with several up-and-coming athletes competing, including current collegiate champion Amanda Felder, Jillian Petersen, 2007 USAT Rookie of the Year Kelly Couch, and 2005 USAT Junior National Champion Jennifer Spieldenner.

2008 Haul to the Great Wall Series Schedule:

U.S. Olympic Trials
Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Date: April 19
Prize Purse: $50,000
Winners: Matt Reed (USA) and Julie Ertel (USA)

The Hy-Vee Triathlon
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Date: June 22
Prize Purse: $700,000
Winners: Rasmus Henning (DEN) and Emma Snowsill (AUS)
Top U.S. Finishers: Laura Bennett (fourth) and Hunter Kemper (Sixth)

The Musselman Triathlon
Location: Geneva, N.Y.
Date: July 12
Prize Purse: $20,000
Winners: Brian Fleischmann (USA) and Julie Ertel (USA)

USA Triathlon Elite Nationals
Location: Portland, Ore.
Date: September 20
Prize Purse: $40,000
Winners: Matt Reed (USA) and Julie Ertel (USA)

The San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Date: November 8
Prize Purse: $40,000
Details: Series Championship

About the Haul to the Great Wall Series

The five-race, draft-legal Olympic distance series is giving triathlon fans a chance to see athletes who competed for the U.S. Olympic Team and those up-and-coming athletes who have their sights set on London in 2012. Each race also includes a stellar international field of competitors.

The series features more than $800,000 in prize money.

Athletes must compete in a minimum of three events to be eligible for the overall series title. If athletes compete in more than three events, the top-three results will be included in the point totals. Overall Series Prize Purse $20,000: Three Deep – 1st $5,000, 2nd $3,000, 3rd $2,000.

Swimwear and sports apparel giant Speedo is also providing $5,000 in bonus money for each race on the five-city tour. American men and women who finish in the top three in their respective races are eligible for the bonuses, with $1,500 going to the top finisher, $750 to second, and $250 to third.

In addition to the individual race bonus pool, Speedo is providing a $15,000 end-of-the-season bonus to be split if U.S. athletes finish first or second in the series. First place will receive $5,000 and second place will take home $2,500 in both the men's and women's categories.

See more detailed standings and information about the 2008 series.

Past Haul to the Great Wall Series Champions
2007: Hunter Kemper and Julie Ertel
2006: Jarrod Shoemaker and Sarah Haskins
2005: Hunter Kemper and Julie Swail (Ertel)