Just two more races to go – the World Triathlon Series arrives in Edmonton this weekend, and there’s a very strong chance we could see more than one Brit up on the podium.
As the last WTS race before the Grand Final in Chicago later this month, there’s bound to be some fast and furious racing over the sprint-distance course (750m swim/20km bike/5km run) in Canada this weekend.
Despite concerns over blue-green algae levels in Hawrelak Park Lake, it looks like the swim is definitely happening now that public health officials have given it the green light, saying toxin levels are “negative or extremely low”.
Britain’s Vicky Holland, Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins are all racing, with Holland and Stanford in particular enjoying a strong run of form at the moment. Their medal hopes will be fuelled by the absence of the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen, Katie Zaferes and Sarah True, who currently sit top of the points leaderboard.
Both Holland and Stanford have reached a WTS podium this season: Holland won gold in Cape Town, then added a silver to her collection in Hamburg. Stanford joined her on the podium in Hamburg by taking home the bronze medal. Both women also secured step one of a two-step process for qualifying for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic team for their federation by making podium in the Rio Test Event in August. Step two could be accomplished by reaching the podium at the Grand Final in Chicago.
Britain’s two-time World Champion Helen Jenkins is still returning back to form after an injury that saw her sidelined for most of the 2015 season, but after a convincing win at last month’s London Triathlon she looks ready to return in fighting form.
Lining up with #1 next to her name for the first time this season is Rachel Klamer (NED). While she has yet to step into the WTS spotlight this season, she has succeeded in making a name for herself in the European competitions. She was second in the Baku European Games and also tallied a victory at the Holten ETU Triathlon Premium European Cup while etching out consistent performances in Series races.
Flora Duffy (BER) carried on a breakthrough consistent season in Stockholm when she scored her third top 5 WTS finish of the year. Duffy’s tenacity on the bike is unmatched and will be the key for the Berumuda athlete to score a second podium this weekend.
The Aussies will also have a strong showing in Canada. Emma Moffatt and Ashleigh Gentle are tough competitors and are ones to look out for. Both women made podium in Yokohama with Gentle earning the silver, while Moffatt took the bronze. Emma Jackson is another Aussie to watch, as is Olympic bronze medallist Erin Densham. Plagued with injury and illness since 2012, Densham showed signs of a return to form with her finishes in London and Stockholm. Full start list.
The women’s race will be held on Sunday, September 6 at 1:30pm local time (8.30pm UK time). UK viewers can watch the race live on the BBC Red Button service (free), or online at triathlonlive.tv (£).
In his drive for five World Championship titles, Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) is in Edmonton to top off the men’s roster, and sports the golden number one. After dominating the competition in Stockholm, the Spaniard remains in strong contention to become the first athlete ever to win five ITU World Championships.
Rode 70.3 Worlds course today. Felt quite weak but hey, 2 days ago couldn’t get up from bed. That’s an improvement! pic.twitter.com/hm2KqjcLVQ
— Javi Gomez Noya (@Jgomeznoya) August 27, 2015
However, he’s been suffering from illness after WTS Stockholm and couldn’t manage better than bronze at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships a few days ago.
With Britain’s Brownlee brothers sitting this out yet another WTS race due to injury, it’s fellow Spaniard Mario Mola who looks most likely to challenge Gomez. Sitting in second in the Columbia Threadneedle rankings, Mola is right on the coattails, trailing by just 447 points. His incredible running strength means if Mola makes it in the lead group in the swim and bike, there should be nothing stopping him from making podium.
Another talented runner is South Africa’s Richard Murray. He wowed the spectators at the Rio Test Event when he made up a minute after the bike leg and blew past over twenty men to ultimately earn the bronze medal. Murray has not seen the likes of a WTS podium since Abu Dhabi and is overdue for a medal this weekend.
To do so, however, he will have to go head-to-head with Vincent Luis (FRA) in addition to the Spaniards. The young French triathlete has been the name to watch this season in sprint races after countless strong performances throughout the whole season. He has made the podium in every single race that he has contested and was finally able to secure his first gold medal in Hamburg. A tactical racer whose swim, bike and run are all on par with the best, look for Luis to be a leader this weekend.
Sole elite male Brits racing in Edmonton are Adam Bowden and Tom Bishop. Check out the men’s start list.
The men’s race will be held on Sunday, September 6 at 3:30pm local time (10.30pm UK time). UK viewers can watch the race live on the BBC Red Button service (free), or online at triathlonlive.tv (£).
(Images: Delly Carr / ITU)
Who do you think will win? Let us know in the comments!