Olympic gold medallists return to ITU World Tri Series in Cape Town
Olympic gold medallists Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and Nicola Spirig (SUI) will make their 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series season debuts at the ITU World Triathlon Cape Town this weekend. Just the fourth WTS race of the year, Cape Town represents the third continent to host the pinnacle triathlon circuit this season. The women are set to start the competition on Saturday, followed by the men on Sunday.
The race marks the first time Spirig has competed in the World Triathlon Series since she won Olympic gold in London. Spirig will face Americans Katie Zaferes and Sarah True, as well as powerhouse Helen Jenkins (GBR), who will also start her season in South Africa after sustaining injuries much of the last year. In the men's race, Alistair Brownlee returns for the first time this season, and will line up next to the impressive Javier Gomez (ESP), Mario Mola (ESP) and South Africa's own Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman.
In 2014, Cape Town became the first African city to organise a World Triathlon Series race. Set on the V&A Waterfront with majestic Table Mountain in the background, the race offers some of the most spectacular views on the Series. In addition to elite racing, the weekend of events will also include mass participation events. Age groupers will have the option to choose between a standard Olympic distance courses or hone their speed skills on a sprint course.
Swim (1.5km) - Athletes will start at the V&A Waterfront and will swim two anti-clockwise laps.
Bike (40km) - Competitors are in for a scenic eight-lap bike course along the coast on Beach road. They'll loop back and meander through the Green Point Athletics Stadium before hitting T2.
Run (10km) - The run consists of a four-lap,10km course that circles around and finishes at the Green Point Athletics Stadium.
STORIES TO WATCH FOR:
Olympic medallists highlight start lists
While she hasn’t started in a WTS race since winning Olympic gold in 2012, watch out for Nicola Spirig (SUI), who is set to make her 2015 WTS season debut. Joining Spirig, Australia's Erin Densham also took home the bronze medal in London. Cape Town will be the first time Spirig and Densham have met since standing on the podium together at the Olympics. Men's Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee (GBR) kicks off his season by competing in his first WTS since his victory at the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton. Brownlee has spent the first part of the year recovering from an injury, but will without a doubt come fresh and well prepared to perform at full capacity this weekend. A healthy Alistair almost insures an unstoppable execution on the course.
With the return of Brownlee, Cape Town is set to also provide the return of the healthy rivalry between Brownlee and Javier Gomez Noya (ESP). Gomez, who also has had season setbacks due to injury, has used the early 2015 season to improve on his racing. But with numbers making the comparison, Brownlee stacks up just a little bit higher than the reigning World Champion. Brownlee currently holds the record for the most WTS race wins at 17, while Gomez sits at 10 victories, a two-way tie between him and Jonathan Brownlee.
Strong national squads
Spain is set to present a strong roster in Cape Town, as they hold four out of the top 10 spots on the start list. Mario Mola enters the race with a gold medal from Abu Dhabi and a silver from Gold Coast and could likely make the podium again if he performs in the same consistency. Fernando Alarza and Vicente Hernandez also join the ranks of the Spanish representation. Alarza and Hernandez have both come just short of the podium, each tallying a fourth-place finish in previous WTS races earlier this year. Likewise, the American women are dominating the circuit so far this year, having captured seven of hte possible nine WTS medals so far this year. They, as the Spaniards do, feature four women in the top 10, three of whom will line up on Saturday.
PAST CAPE TOWN WINNERS
2014 ITU World Triathlon Cape Town
Jodie Stimpson (GBR) Javier Gomez Noya (ESP)