With three races left on the 2015 WTS calendar, Stockholm will see some tough points battles this weekend – Spanish trio Javier Gomez, Mario Mola and Fernando Alarza are all racing, and in the women’s race Sarah True and Katie Zaferes (USA) will face stiff competition from Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig.
This year’s race (map here) will feature a new swim start and two transitions, and this year returns to Olympic distance (1.5km swim/40km bike/10km run) – but the cobblestones will remain. Let’s hope the weather’s better than last year too.
The peerless Gwen Jorgensen is sitting this one out, meaning compatriots True and Katie Zaferes have the opportunity to score valuable points on Saturday (22nd August) that could narrow their gap in the title race.
All-American women’s podium at WTS Gold Coast 2015
Zaferes has racked up five podium finishes this year and sits just 355 points behind Jorgensen. True has scored two podium finishes this year and rounds out the top-three in the title chase.
There are just two British women racing in Stockholm on Saturday – Jessica Learmonth, who’s enjoying a fine first WTS season having led out of the swim at WTS Auckland, and India Lee who recently won the Windsor Triathlon and came 49th at the Rio 2016 test event.
Other podium threats include fourth-ranked Andrea Hewitt (NZL), who finished second to True at last year’s event, and reigning Olympic champion Nicola Spirig (SUI), who’s raced just one WTS event this year – claiming bronze in Cape Town. Spirig has since earned her spot in Rio with a win at the Baku European Games and the European Championships. Full start list here.
The women’s race will be contested at 12:25pm local time (11:25 UK time) on Saturday 22nd August. UK viewers can watch the action live on BT Sport (£), and online at triathlonlive.tv (£). Highlights are on BBC Two on Sunday 23rd at 5:15pm.
Last year’s uphill transition at WTS Stockholm
Series points leader Javier Gomez (ESP) is undoubtedly the man to beat on Sunday (23 August) – both Brownlees being absent – but Mola is just 331 points behind his compatriot, and already has four podium finishes to his name this season.
A win in Sweden would put Mola top of the leaderboard if Gomez doesn’t finish in the top two. Fernando Alarza sits third in the series points race, and will push hard for more.
Matthew Sharp is the sole Brit racing – his top results so far this year include ninth at the ETU European Champs in Geneva, and fourth at the Quarteira ETU Triathlon European Cup event.
Both Brownlees are missing Stockholm this year
Australia’s Aaron Royle could be a podium threat and had a superb race at the Rio 2016 test event recently, while fellow Aussie Ryan Bailie is also enjoying a strong run after a career-WTS high fourth-place finish in London.
While Vincent Luis is off the start list in Stockholm, France is emerging as the latest nation to rival the Brits and Spaniards. There will be no shortage of French talent in Stockholm come Sunday in Anthony Pujades, Aurelien Raphael and Simon Viain.
All three men will likely emerge from the wetsuit-required water out front, along with the Russian team and South African Henri Schoeman. Their challenge, of course, will be holding off speedy runners such as Mola, Joao Pereira and Joao Silva. For the complete start list, head here.
The men’s race will be contested at 15:36pm local time (14:36 UK time) on Sunday 23rd August. UK viewers can watch the action live on BBC Two, and online at triathlonlive.tv (£).
(Images: Janos Schmidt / Delly Carr / ITU)
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