After a long break from the World Triathlon Series, the second round touches down in Bermuda for the second year running. Unfortunately home favourite and last years winner Flora Duffy (BER) is a late withdrawal from the race, but with 9 of the top 10 athletes from Abu Dhabi racing, the women’s field is undoubtedly a competitive one.
The men’s race last year saw a record-breaking performance from the Norwegian trio of Casper Stornes, Kristian Blummenfelt, and Gustav Iden. It was the first time a nation had made a clean sweep of a podium in the men’s race, and they did so in
This weekend sees more than just WTS action. Texas Ironman also takes place, last year we saw World Records broken and it seems many athletes are heading that way to gain early Kona selection and perhaps have a go at the World Record on the lightning quick course.
The weekend also features a return to racing for Alistair Brownlee (GBR) who lines up against a massive field at Marbella 70.3. The jury is still out on his plans for Tokyo, but it is a welcome sight to see him back on a start-line.
Katie Zaferes (USA), winner of Abu Dhabi arguably starts as the favourite after her impressive victories at Abu Dhabi WTS and the Super League Grand Final in Singapore. Her chances are probably heightened by the nature of the course which lends itself to the success of a breakaway which will also suit HUUB’s Jessica Learmonth (GBR) who has a great start to the year in Abu Dhabi with a podium placed finish. However, with Duffy absent as well as Taylor Knibb we might just a see a ’two-up’ as opposed to the small pack we saw in Abu Dhabi. The other key contenders include Taylor Spivey (USA), Vicky Holland (GBR), Non Stanford (GBR), and Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA), as well as HUUB’s Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) who finished 2018 third in the WTS rankings.
This race will most likely be dictated by the presence of a breakaway, and if the pace is on, the multiple reps up Corkscrew Hill will certainly shake things up. The key point in the race will be at the end of the 1500m swim, and all eyes will be on the gaps back to the chase pack(s).
The men’s field is equally as competitive as the women’s with 7 of the top 10 athletes at Abu Dhabi present. HUUB’s Tom Bishop (GBR) and Alex Yee (GBR) have chosen to sit this round out, focusing instead on Yokohama which doubles as a selection race for Team GB and Tokyo 2020.
As aforementioned, Bermuda is suited to a breakaway, but increasingly their success rate has decreased which could be due to the likes of Alistair Brownlee and Javier Gomez (ESP) being absent in recent years, or athletes like Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) bringing the break back?
Bermuda will see the return of Javier Gomez who has switched his attention from Kona to Tokyo. Jonny Brownlee will likely see this a positive thing for him having had a lot of his success when racing alongside the Spaniard. Jonny got back to winning ways at the Super League and has hopefully put a tough 2018 behind him, with the challenging bike course he will have a great chance of getting back on the top step of a WTS podium.
Mario Mola is possibly overall favourite, and the reigning World Champion looked impressive in Abu Dhabi as he took the win ahead of Alex Yee, a breakaway from the swim might be the only way to beat him. Other athletes likely to feature in the race include Vincent Luis (FRA), Fernando Alarza (ESP), Leo Bergere (FRA) and of course Henri Schoeman (RSA), the Commonwealth Champion will relish the opportunity of a breakaway.