Abu Dhabi WTS: who’s competing
On 5 March the ITU WTS series kicks off in Abu Dhabi with some of the world’s best triathletes lining up, all hoping to earn the first WTS points of the year
Viewing for Abu Dhabi WTS starts on BBC television at 9am on the red button for the mens and runs till 11.20am, while the women’s starts at 12pm and runs until 2.20pm.
Abu Dhabi is the only Middle Eastern city to ever host a WTS event, and this year it will be over an Olympic distance rather than the sprint distance in 2015.
The men are set to compete first on Saturday, with six of the top 10 ranked men from 2015 on the start list.
Sitting at the top is the Abu Dhabi reigning champion Mario Mola (ESP), who triumphed last year. In his final push, he recorded the fastest 5km run split in the history of the WTS, a record he maintained until he beat it himself later that year.
His opponents include South Africa’s Richard Murray had a phenomenal 2015 season and ended it ranked 4th overall. Other names to watch out for is the Spaniard Fernando Alarza, Ryan Bailie (AUS), Crisanto Grajales (MEX) and Joao Pereira (POR).
Representing Britain will be Tom Bishop who is ranked 7th in the WTS stats and Adam Bowden, who is ranked 25th who will both be hoping to impress selectors and get the third place on the Olympic team. The Brownlees, who have already been selected for Rio, are unfortunately not competing in Abu Dhabi.
The women’s race will be equally fiercely contested, and although two-time World Champion and reigning Abu Dhabi victor Gwen Jorgensen (USA) won’t be there, her compatriots Sarah True and Katie Zaferes are top the women’s start list.
True was the second runner-up for the World Champion title last season, after finishing third in the overall Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, and gracing three WTS podiums in 2015 including taking top spot at Stockholm World Triathlon 2015.
Rachel Klamer (NED) and Flora Duffy (BER) are the only other two women to appear on the start list that finished in the top 10 of the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings last year.
Reigning Olympic gold medallist Nicola Spirig (SUI) is also making her first season WTS appearance this weekend.
Other dangerous names on the start list to keep an eye on this season is Japan’s Ai Ueda, Australians Ashleigh Gentle and Erin Densham.
Representing Great Britain will be Helen Jenkins and Jodie Stimpson who will have their eye firmly on Rio and gaining that third place (Non Stanford and Vicky Holland met the automatic selection criteria for Rio).
As a tribute to the late, beloved Laurent Vidal, the No. 1 position in the men’s and women’s start list has been left open.
If you have a Triathlon Live pass you can also watch all of the action live at triathlonlive.tv or if you are not near a decent screen follow us on twitter @220Triathlon as we tweet all the action, and join the conversation with the hashtags #WTSAbuDhabi and #CTrank
See some images from WTS Abu Dhabi 2015 mens here