With BBC Weather currently predicting sunshine for this weekend’s elite races at WTS London, it looks like Britain’s top triathletes (including both Brownlees and Jodie Stimpson) will be getting favourable weather as well as home advantage at Hyde Park this Saturday.
In the men’s race, Jonny Brownlee will be keen to wipe out the memories of last year’s Grand Final sprint finish by overpowering his Spanish rival (and current ITU points leader) Javier Gomez, ably assisted by older brother Alistair. The three athletes have dominated this race in the past five years, with Alistair and Gomez both winning two apiece.
This year, the organisers have decided to reduce the race to sprint distance (750m swim/20km bike/5km run) due to a conflict with other activities happening around Hyde Park – which could mean that rising stars such as Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA) come to the fore, as they did at WTS Yokohama a couple of weeks ago.
Other male athletes to watch out for include Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS), who took bronze in Cape Town, Sven Riederer (SUI) and Alessandro Fabian (ITA), while Aussie athletes like Aaron Royle will also be pushing hard and tuning their race tactics ahead of the Commonwealth Games this July.
In the women’s race, WTS points leader Jodie Stimpson remains the athlete to beat, telling 220 in a recent photoshoot for us that despite needing stitches in her foot at WTS Yokohama after tripping in transition, she has been doing lots of run training since and is raring to go. Fellow Brit Helen Jenkins will offer tough competition though, given her solid results at Auckland and Cape Town, consistently strong performances in London, and fresh legs after sitting out Yokohama.
The USA’s Gwen Jorgensen notched up a win at Yokohama just under two weeks ago, but has had a mixed bag of results in Hyde Park in years past (silver in 2011, DNF last year), and may not be suited to the shorter distance format. Germany’s Anne Haug will also be hoping to do much better than last year, when she came 35th, but definitely has the power to succeed at the sprint distance.
Other female athletes to look out for include Sweden’s Lisa Norden in her first WTS race of 2014 (illness and injury have kept her away so far this year), New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt and the USA’s Sarah Groff – all of whom sat out Yokohama and should therefore be well rested for London.
The men’s race will get underway at 2.30pm on Saturday 31 May, starting with a 750m swim in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake from a pontoon start, followed by a four-lap 20km bike that involves some very sharp turns, finishing with a three-lap 5km run along the Serpentine. The women’s race will begin at 4pm on the same day.
(Main image: Janos Schmidt)