The World Triathlon Series is coming to the Americas, as Edmonton, Canada becomes the ninth stop in the 2015 circuit. After hosting the Grand Final last year, Edmonton is set to serve up a sprint course this year. As the last race before the 2015 Grand Final, the elite women are looking to earn some last-chance ITU points.
Great Britain has come prepared to seize that podium by bringing two of its leading ladies. Vicky Holland and Non Stanford grace the start list and based on their recent performances in the triathlon season, it is very likely that one or potentially both will be earning an Edmonton medal.
Both Holland and Stanford have reached a WTS podium this season. Holland won gold in Cape Town, while also adding a silver to her collection in Hamburg. Stanford joined her 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.
They’ll be joined by two-time World Champion Helen Jenkins. While Jenkins endured an injury that saw her sidelined for most of the 2015 season, she looks ready to return in fighting form.
Lining up with No. 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. Gentle will be further boosted by the fact she won the Edmonton World Cup back in 2011.
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. Aussie women have claimed five World Cup titles in Edmonton, suggesting this is their course to defend.
The United States women have no doubt been the dominate force this season, frontrunners Gwen Jorgensen, Sarah True and Katie Zaferes have all opted out of competing this weekend, leaving Edmonton completely up for grabs.
Click here for the women’s start list
As the penultimate stop on the World Triathlon Series, Edmonton will this weekend offer up a fast and furious sprint course to a star-studded men’s start list as the athletes fight for final points in the hunt to call themselves the fastest athlete in the world.
In his drive for five World Championship titles, Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) is back to top off the men’s roster and sport the golden number one. After dominating the competition in Stockholm and effortlessly earning himself the gold medal, the Spaniard remains in strong contention to become the first athlete to win five ITU World Championships, having scored his fourth here in Edmonton last year. Following his convincing win in Stockholm, Gomez raced to bronze at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships just days ago. While clearly in form, it remains to be seen if he will have enough spring in his step to score another podium in Edmonton.
If anybody could interrupt Gomez’s campaign for another World title, it’s Spanish compatriot Mario Mola. Sitting in second in the Columbia Threadneedle rankings, Mola is right on the coat tails trailing just 447 points. While Mola has had an up and down season when it comes to his finishes, he does continue to remains consistent in his strong ability to outrun his opponents. Deficits in the first two legs prove to be no match for his super human running powers, but should he make 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.
Aussie Aaron Royle is an athlete that has progressively improved throughout the season. After a phenomenal performance at the Rio Test Event, Royle followed it up with a bronze medal in Stockholm - his first time on the WTS podium since 2014. Similarly, Joao Pereira struggled to put up solid results this year after a breakthrough season in 2014. However, he showed signs of his speed returning last weekend when he matched Royle step for step nearly the entire race until the final metres when he pushed ahead for silver.
Click here for the men’s start list
The men’s race will be held on Sunday, September 6 at 3:35pm. To watch the race live, tune in at triathlonlive.tv. For live updates, follow us on twitter at @triathlonlive.