There’s three hours to go until the elite women face off to decide who will be crowned 2010 ITU World Champion. The pre-race standings are really tight so expect the most exciting event of the year.

Yesterday there were only two men in with a realistic shot of lifting the ITU World Championship Series (WCS) here in Budapest. And from a WCS point of view the finale was a bit of an anti-climax, with series leader Jan Frodeno struggling on the run. The writing was on the wall from a long way out, and Spain’s Javier Gomez eventually cruised to his second world title.

2010 ITU World ChampionshipsThis afternoon’s women’s race promises to be a much tighter affair, with defending champion Emma Moffatt (AUS) leading New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt by just 52 points in the pre-race standings. Both women will have a keen eye on each other today, though they mustn’t get dragged into a head-to-head battle and ignore the progress of Lisa Norden (SWE) and Helen Jenkins (GBR) who lie in 3rd and 4th place in the standings respectively.

Norden and Jenkins can both lift the world title if Moffatt and Hewitt underperform and finish off the podium. The chances of this appear to be slim on paper – though Moffatt and Hewitt haven’t won a race this season they are incredibly consistent and have six podium finishes between them. All this can change under the fierce pressure of Grand Final day and under the glare of the world’s media this afternoon – whoever handles the occasion best will surely come out on top.

Many eyes will be focused on Canada’s Paula Findlay, who started her debut season late this year and is too far behind in the standings to have a live shot at the title. But her recent back-to-back victories in London and Kitzbuhel have confirmed the 21 year-old as triathlon’s hottest young star, and many are backing her to make it three in a row this afternoon.

The race gets underway at 1pm BST and you can follow the action live on the BBC red button and for free at www.triathlon.org/tv.

Photo: triathlon.org