And then there were three.  WTC has announced the final three finalists shortlisted to host IMC2013.
Here’s the release;
“Today, World Triathlon Corporation (WTC, d/b/a IRONMAN) announces three finalists from the bid process to host the 2013 IRONMAN Canada: Kelowna, British Columbia (BC); Huntsville, Ontario and Whistler, BC.
The selection of the three Canadian communities was based on criteria as stated in the bid process that closed on Sept. 24.  There were seven communities in Canada that submitted bids.
As part of the next phase in the selection process, IRONMAN staff will conduct in-depth visits to each finalist community.  IRONMAN expects to announce the host for the 2013 IRONMAN Canada, as well as additional event-related details, by mid-October.”
I must say I’m a little surprised that Kamloops and Victoria didn’t make the list in place of Huntsville/Muskoka.  Muskoka no doubt put forward a very compelling bid with a strong resume of other triathlons which it currently plays host to, including Muskoka 70.3.  However a race so far east would give up the western Canadian market to Challenge Penticton.
For Kelowna, the committee took the bidding process quite seriously, sending a delegation down to Florida to make the pitch directly to the WTC.  The city is aggressively pursuing Ironman Canada 2013 and I’ve even heard that they would intend to place Ironman Canada on the same day as Challenge Penticton.  I would be lying if it didn’t seem that Kelowna was trying to capitalize on the WTC’s desire to keep other races out of their sandbox, a pretty transparent move that I know would alienate a lot of triathletes.  Two major Ironman distance events, on the same day as each other, 80km apart is just plain dumb.  I think a lot of athletes, whether on the Ironman or Challenge side, would rather see the triathlon pie expand rather than be cut in two.  This is evidenced by the results of the poll which I held over the past few days which saw only 3 of 74 respondents say they’d like to see IMC move to Kelowna.
So I’ll come out and say it now, my hopes are on Whistler.  Of the three options I think that they’d put together a fantastic event and if they can manage the logistics, it could be one of the most spectacular courses around.  I spend a few days in Whistler over the Olympics in 2010 and the facilities, scenery, and accommodations really are world class.  The Sea to Sky Highway would be an excellent bike course, and a run along the BC coast would be truly spectacular.
We’ll find out where the race ends up on October 10, around the same time as the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii.   Until then, we’ll let the speculation continue.
I’ve updated the poll on the right to reflect the three finalists.  When the list was still seven, this was the standing;
1.     Victoria – 25 votes or 33%
2.     Kamloops – 14 votes or 18%
3.     Whistler – 12 Votes or 16%
4.     Vernon – 8 votes or 10%
5.     Muskoka – 7 votes or 9%
6.     Mystery City – 5 votes or 6%
7.     Kelowna – 3 votes or 4%