Winners at ITU Hamburg 2013
Winners at ITU Hamburg 2013

World's best triathlons: 31 to do before you die

So you want to go out in style? You want to say, yep, done that and, without doubt, got the T-Shirt? But with so many races to choose from, how will your tri racing CV look when it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil? Well, look no further! Here's our list of the world's best triathlons...

25 Hamburg ITU, Germany

From Cape Town to Mooloolaba in Australia and Cozumel in Mexico, the International Triathlon Union’s World Series and the federation’s second-tier collection of World Cup races have plenty of jaw-dropping canvases for athletes to perform against. While it may lack the aforementioned trio’s mountains, golden sands or azure waters, the ITU World Series regular race at Hamburg in northern Germany tops them all in the atmosphere stakes.

In a nation that also boasts Challenge Roth (220,000 spectators) and the Ironman European Championships (estimates vary from 100-500,000 on the sidelines), the ITU race in Hamburg completes the golden trio with a reported 300,000 competitors crammed into the old town of Germany’s second-biggest city.

The race has been an ever-present entry on the ITU World Series since 2009 and has long hosted World Cup, World Championship, Mixed Relay and Paratriathlon events, with the ITU worlds champions Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Gwen Jorgensen and Javier Gomez all breaking the tape to a crescendo of Germanic noise in recent times.

While some major city races stick around the outskirts with only brief forays into any central areas, part of the Hamburg race’s appeal is how it takes over the heart of the city. The swim is positioned in the man-made Inner Alster Lake within the city limits, with the swim’s famous dark tunnel to be negotiated by both the elite athletes and 10,000 international age-group triathletes over the weekend.

The bike course may be flat but it’s one of the ITU’s more technical routes, forcing athletes to weave around the streets of the old trading city and negotiate a number of switchbacks at the end of each of the multiple loops (the event offers both sprint and Olympic-distance races). The 5/10km run concludes at the Hamburg City Hall for one of triathlon’s most epic finales.

Continue reading our guide to the world's best triathlon (8/31)


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