The hot favourite going into the race has to be Bermuda’s Flora Duffy. Without taking into account the favourable course and weather conditions this weekend, Duffy is the women to beat this season and has looked flawless in the swim, bike and run. Even though she spends the majority of her racing off the front of the race in a breakaway, she still manages to post one of the fastest run splits. Judging by WTS races so far, the only athlete that has a chance to beat her will be Ashleigh Gentle from Australia, who is also the only athlete with a mathematical chance of overtaking Duffy in the world rankings to claim the world title. Although this will take some bad luck on Duffy’s part, and needless to say Gentle has to be first across the line. Other athletes to look out for are Jess Learmonth, fresh from her second place at Stockholm WTS, veteran of the sport Andrea Hewitt, Katie Zaferes, Jodie Stimpson (2014 Commonwealth Champion), and you can never write off Nicola Spirig, who is back racing after having her second child.
Our podium prediction:
So far this year it has been the battle of the Spanish for the ITU World Championships. With Alistair Brownlee sitting much of the WTS season out and Jonny with some unfortunate luck, the series has been fairly wide open with great performances from a number of athletes. The predicted weather and very technical course may have a significant impact on the race and will favour the likes of Jonny Brownlee, Tom Bishop and Javier Gomez. Kristian Blummenfelt comes into the race after success in Stockholm and Ryan Sessions will be looking to get on the podium after a string of fourth places finishes. The course is certainly favourable to a breakaway, so it will be interesting to see who makes that leading pack and who is committed to chase. As we saw in Stockholm, a small pack were effective at keeping the gap to the chasers, and it required significant effort from those behind, which proved detrimental to Mario Mola in particular who effectively rode his run legs off. Final point to make is the return of Javier Gomez, who only last weekend won the 70.3 World championships over in Chattanooga, posting a 1:10.29 half marathon run split. Will he still be feeling that…
Our podium prediction:
Junior and U23 World Championships
The Junior and U23 World Championships also take place as well as the AG championships. A few names to look out for are HUUB’s Sophie Coldwell competing for GBR in the women’s U23 event, she has medalled at numerous European and World Championships so will certainly be on the hunt for a medal. Going in the Junior men’s category is Ben Dijkstra, one of Britain’s most promising young talent’s. In 2015 he was 7th and in 2016 3rd, so Ben will be looking to end his junior career on a high! Gordon Benson competes in the U23 event, which is surprising as he looks close to 30, but again Gordon has medalled numerous times so you can expect a good effort from the 2016 Olympian.