With just days to go until this year’s World Triathlon Series gets underway in Auckland, we take a look at the top athletes lining up this weekend, starting with the women’s race and a certain H. Jenkins…
The WTS season starts at 12.10pm local time this Sunday (a sleepy 1.10am UK time) with the women’s race. Returning two-time World Champion Helen Jenkins and 2013 series silver medallist Jodie Stimpson will lead the British team out of the gates (reigning world champ Non Stanford being injured).
Beautiful New Zealand pic.twitter.com/TavDcp0HWS
— Helen Jenkins (@heljinx) April 2, 2014
Their international rivals include Anne Haug (GER), who’s won in Auckland for the past two years, and the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen, who won three WTS races last season.
Other contenders include Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Emma Moffat (AUS), home favourite Andrea Hewitt (NZL), 2012 Auckland silver medallist Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI) and 2013 silver medallist Maaike Caelers (NED).
Reigning World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP) is among the male athletes confirmed to start in Auckland at 3.40pm local time (4.40am UK time) on Sunday, with Britain’s Jonny Brownlee leading British hopes (his older brother Alistair opting to stay out of this race and rest his Achilles).
Touched down in Auckland. Few days in the city before the first WTS of the year. Will miss Wanaka though
— Javi Gomez Noya (@Jgomeznoya) April 2, 2014
Other athletes tipped to podium include Mario Mola (ESP) who took silver in Auckland last year, and Portugal’s João Silva who took bronze at the New Plymouth World Cup two weeks ago. Sven Riederer (SUI) and Kiwi favourite Ryan Sissons are also worth looking out for, while three-time aquathlon world champion Richard Varga (SVK) is bound to impress in the swim.
Swim (1.5km): Athletes dive off a pontoon into a sheltered area next to Queens Wharf and will swim two laps. Wetsuits are not expected.
Bike (40km): After transitioning on Queens Wharf, the first of eight laps starts at the waterfront and winds its way up Auckland’s steep main street, Queen Street, with three separate climbs each lap.
Run (10km): Four-lap, 10km that starts at the waterfront and heads along Quay and Queen streets, before the finish down on Queens Wharf.
How to follow the action
We have secured a free pass for 220 readers to watch all the action live from Auckland at triathlonlive.tv (more details here), but you’ll have to be quick and register for your pass before this Saturday (5th April). UK viewers can also watch highlights of both races on the BBC later in the year, schedule to be confirmed. Twitter users can follow all the action via @worldtriathlon and #WTSAuckland.
(Main image: Delly Carr/ITU)