Not sure I can agree
Bek Keat is hardly a slouch, and while she burned herself out early on the run, probably would have won if not for trying to catch up to Chrissie.
But more to the point, not many women are in Chrissie's range right now. Heck, many of the men are not in Chrissie's range. If Bek want to just win, she could have done Switzerland, but she loves Roth, Chrissie or no Chrissie.
Heather Jackson was scheduled to do Rhode Island, but chose Carlsbad instead... And that was not to cherry pick the race, in fact I am not sure of any other pros doing that race, but it was in the town she has called home the last several years.
Besides, Rhode Island was a pit of a race. The swim was in a cess pool instead of the beautiful ocean, if you wanted the shuttle to the start you had to pay $8???? If someone wanted to cherry pick a race, a pro could have done it at Rhode Island except the course was mediocre at best and the prize purse like so many of the WTC races actually INSULTING.
Jordan Rapp, Richie Cunningham, Jesse Thomas, Kate Major, Malaika Homo, and Bree Wee easily could have podiumed or challenged at Rhode Island, but why win a $15,000 race when you can go for $50,000 at Rev 3.
Was Leanda Cave "Cherry Picking" when she backed out of Florida 70.3 for Rev 3 Knoxville, or what she just being prudent in taking home almost 3 times the money for an Olympic distance race versus $3K for a 70.3... Let alone the year before when she won Florida 70.3 she took home $6K... So year to year... same race, half the purse...
WTC Races in general are a ghetto. There is a reason 40+ Pros were at Quassy... Mainly they get treated better, as well as paid better.
Which race would you do? Rev 3 Quassy or Mooseman? Both are half distance races... Mooseman pays out $3K for the winner, Quassy $20K. That is why, especially on the women's field you had Magali Tisseyre, Rinny, Julie Dibens, Angela Naeth, Heather Jackson. If there was cherry picking going on, any one of these pros could have stood a better chance at winning Mooseman. Nothing against Lesley Paterson or Caitlin Snow, but I would give the edge to any of the 5 Quassy women I named.
I would only partially agree that the new Kona rules have anything to do with it. I think the bigger portion is WTC and their classification of races which says THIS is an A RACE, and this is a D Race. Frankly, I would not be surprised if you start seeing that trend continue... If you have X number of races in a season, why waste those races on ones that are discounted and basically don't count? Belinda Granger even commented the same at Roth and summed it up as she could win IM Australia, and someone else who did another race and finished 4th at IMTexas got more points. Or something close to that. It is not just the points, but the money.
Triathlon is carried on the backs of the AGers. They are the ones who really fund the prize purses, and sorry, I don't see the WTC trying to go to a 5 race series and having 60 person pro fields. In terms of long distance races, what would change even if they did that. Outside of Chrissie and a few others, is their really competition beyond the top 10? Same in the mens field. There was almost a 15 minute gap in the mens at Kona from 1st to 10th and 6 minutes separated 1st to 4th? Is that really any different? No Chrissie this year, but on the womens side 1st to 10 was separated by a 30 minutes and around 17 minutes 1st to 4th and that was without Chrissie.
2009 was the same. Mens 5 minutes 1st to 4th, 11 minutes 1st to 10th. Women worse. Almost 30 minutes 1st to 4th, 45 minutes 1st to 10th.
2008. Mens 4 minutes 1st to 4th, 17 minutes 1st to 10th. Womens. 18 minutes 1st to 4th, 33 Minutes 1st to 10th.
2007 Mens 7 minutes 1st to 4th. 20 minutes 1st to 10th. Womens 18 minutes 1st to 4th, 31 minutes 1st to 10th
So if you are seeing that kind of spread at Kona, what difference is it going to make having fewer racers with more pros.
Well the biggest difference I can see... Especially the way the WTC dishes out prize money... More starving pros.
I think you see empty races like RI because there is not that much money, not much points and the WTC actually likes this. They like to be able to choose which races they want to highlight.
To the point that fewer races with more stacked pros will make a difference, is there a bigger race right not in terms of stacking than Kona? Does number of athletes really make a difference, when there are 80+ pros at Kona, but you have a 30 minute gap in the women 1st - 10 and 15 minutes on average for the men?