Edmonton ready to welcome triathletes for the penultimate stop of the WTS season
The city of Champions, Edmonton, is set to play WTS host once again with top triathletes from around the globe arriving in the Canadian prairie city for a chance to get some valuable ranking points at the end of the season. And with all the contenders for the World Championship lining up this Saturday in ITU World Triathlon Edmonton, the race is proving to be more exciting than ever.
Wearing the golden number one in Edmonton on Saturday evening will be the current Series leader, Vincent Luis(FRA), and is ready to show that he is the one to beat this season. The Frenchman has already won in WTS Yokohama and claimed the silver medal in WTS Hamburg, and will be a hard one to beat in the sprint distance course of Edmonton, with a tough bike course and really fast and flat run course.
But it wont be easy for him to battle the strong Spanish squad, with Javier Gomez Noya, Fernando Alarza and Mario Mola all looking to redeem themselves and get some precious points for the Series ranking. Noya, five times world champion, is really looking to grab his sixth title on his road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and has had a really consistent season so far, with two WTS podiums in Leeds and Bermuda, and finishing always in the tope 10, which has led him to currently stand in the second place of the rankings.
Another consistent athlete is his teammate Alarza, ranking third at the moment but willing to consolidate his presence within the top athletes, something not easy having teammates as strong as the Spaniards are. And Mola, who has rediscovered his form to finish in third place in WTS Montreal and in 4th in WTS Hamburg, is also really looking forward to improve his disappointing races in the middle of the season to face the Grand Final with chances of renewing his title for the fourth consecutive time.
The start list in Edmonton is one of the strongest in years, with the men competing this weekend having a total of 50 WTS victories and more than 150 WTS podiums. And one athlete that is adding quite a few results to that impressive list is indeed Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), also trying to get a great result this season, after some disappointing performances in the last couple of months. The British can’t never be counted off a race, and he will be among the ones trying to push hard on the bike course to break the race and increase his chances of finishing in the podium. Same thing for Australian Jake Birtwhistle, the only athlete that has been on top of the podium twice this season, in Leeds and Hamburg, and is hungry to get his third victory of his WTS career on Canadian soil.
But if something has been proven already this season is that there’s a whole new generation of athletes coming and already showing some great results in the WTS circuit, and with most of them racing in Edmonton, the spectacle is granted. Jelle Geens (BEL), Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) and Matthew McElroy (USA) all know what it is to step on the podium of a WTS race and have done so this year, and will be for sure trying to increase their own tallies this weekend.
Also hungry will be the likes of Hayden Wilde (NZL), Marten Van Riel (BEL), Ben Kanute (USA) or Eli Hemming (USA), all willing to go one step forward and put their names in the golden list of the ones grabbing a medal in the WTS circuit.
With the current leaders of the World Triathlon Series -Katie Zaferes (USA), Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR)- not racing this weekend in ITU World Triathlon Edmonton, the field is wide open for a a handful of athletes looking to make a strong statement at the end of the season, before the world leaders head to Tokyo for the Test Event and to Lausanne for the Grand Final. And USA’s Taylor Spivey looks determined to get in the Canadian city her first WTS victory of the season.
Even with Katie focusing on a block of training and skipping WTS Edmonton, the USA has one of the strongest teams lining up this Saturday for the women’s race, with four of the five top spots on the start list held by Americans: Spivey, Summer Rappaport, Chelsea Burns, Taylor Knibb and Tamara Gorman.
Spivey, who will be wearing the golden number one this week, will be a woman on a mission this Saturday: claiming her first WTS victory of her career and also trying to make it to the Series ranking’s podium, after a consistent season in which she has earned already two medals -silver in WTS Abu Dhabi and bronze in WTS Yokohama, but has never finished lower than in the sixth place. She will have to keep an eye for her training partner and teammate, Rappaport, who has also been twice in the WTS podium this year, silver in WTS Yokohama and bronze in WTS Hamburg, and who has been a regular medalist on the ITU World Cup circuit, including victories in Miyazaki, Japan, and Huatulco, Mexico.
With Burns, Knibb and Gorman also as potential medallists in Edmonton, USA is aiming for the second podium sweep of the season, after the one they got in Yokohama, exactly as they did in Edmonton back in 2016.
Wearing number 3 this weekend will be one of the strongest Japanese athletes this season, Yuko Takahashi, who has proven this season that training in an international environment has helped her becoming more competitive and is aiming for her first podium of the season, after missing it in Yokohama. Claire Michel (BEL) and Lisa Perterer(AUT) can also be put in the mix for podium contenders, after some solid performances this season.
Another strong team will be the Australian one, with Ashleigh Gentle returning to the WTS circuit after a small hiatus, and with Emma Jackson in great form after finishing in 7th place in WTS Montreal. Charlotte mcShane and Jazz Hedgeland are also joining the WTS Aussie squad, after powerful races in the world cup circuit this season. Kiwis Nicole Van Der Kaay and Sophie Corbidge are always worth to keep an eye on, as will be Spaniards Miriam Casillas Garcia, Carolina Routier and Sara Perez Sala, the three of them excellent swimmers.
In Edmonton we will see what probably is be the biggest age difference in ages, with Maria Czesnik (POL) towing the start line at almost 42 years of age, and with Mexico’s Mercedes Romero Orozco being only 17, 25 years difference.
The race in Edmonton, Alberta, marks the eight stop of the regular-season WTS circuit, with athletes covering a sprint-distance 750-meter swim, 22-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
The elite women race on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. local time, followed by the elite men at 5:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. local time). The action continues Sunday at 4:30 p.m. local time. Tunein to triathlonlive.tv to watch all the races live!