Are sprints that much less competitive that their assumed winning pace is slower than an Olympic? Or is there another reason?
Besides what's mentioned above about not having to qualify for the sprint and fast guys being tired if they do the double, it is worth noting that the transition times are just as long regardless of race distance. So in the Sprint race transitions make up a larger portion of the total finish time, therefore making it look like athletes went a little slower when they actually might have gone faster.
To the OP, since you seem to have done your research on this (thank you), how do you think this course will compare to Milwaukee in general? Looking at the profile I don't see much reason this would be slower, but I really haven't looked that closely yet.
In regards to the Sprint vs. Oly comptitiveness... the Sprint has some interesting statistics vs. the Oly... my AG is the largest in Oly and the third or 4th in the Sprint... older AGs have larger numbers for the Sprint.
My AG is definitely competitive in both the Oly and Sprint that does have much fewer athletes... I do the Sprint for fun in a reasonably competitive field, I have no interest in racing twice at Worlds, carrying two bikes, etc. I've qualified for both the last couple of years and do the Oly.