Triathlon Sprints to become Draft-legal?

The ITU issued the following statement on Friday 18th July

“To all National Federations, ITU would like to make you aware that its Executive Board has approved a change to the Competition Rules which will see the ITU Sprint Distance Age Group competition at the World Championship move from a “drafting-illegal” to a “drafting legal” competition. The Standard Distance competition will remain as a “drafting-illegal” race. The enforcement of this rule will go into effect at the Grand Final in 2016.”

From this can we infer that all sprint triathlons will allow drafting? Or, at the very least, in preparation for the finals, will qualifying triathlons be draft legal?

It has always seemed odd that the pros are allowed to draft but age-groupers can’t. Usually, in the world of sport, it is the pros that get the more difficult situation. However, drafting virtually takes away one of the three disciplines. You’ve only got to look at the pro races to see how difficult it is to get away from anyone on the bike when someone’s allowed to draft you. At the recent European champs three bike groups became one before the end. If the likes of Alistair Brownlee can’t put time into others on the bike, then us age-groupers don’t stand a chance. On a personal level, I see this as taking away my main weapon, and a bad day for the sport 🙁

On another front, have the ITU thought this through in terms of safety? There were enough crashes at Kitzbuhel to fill the local hospital, and that was without drafting. Methinks there’s going to be a whole lot of broken collarbones before this rule is reversed.