The second ITU World Triathlon Series event is at the beautiful island of Bermuda this weekend, with perfect warm conditions, crystal clear Atlantic swim, hilly terrain for the bike, and a run alongside picturesque colourful buildings.
It is back to normality now for many of the athletes, and it seems a long time since the World Triathlon Series started the year in Abu Dhabi. Although the Commonwealth athletes may think it's been non-stop since then, for the rest, it's been a chance to race a few continental cups or get a decent block of training in, and of course, some athletes will start their season on the sunny island of Bermuda!
Bermuda is the first major Olympic distance race of the year, so far we have seen some fast, furious and high octane racing across the sprint distance, however, the dynamic of racing is entirely different and therefore we may see some different results to what we have become accustomed to. Both Commonwealth champions are here racing alongside a host of previous WTS medalists, so this weekends racing certainly looks like it will be an exciting affair.
The in-form athlete looks to be HUUB's Henri Schoeman after a win at both Abu Dhabi WTS and the Commonwealth Games. He has looked supreme so far in 2018 and certainly the athlete to beat. The start list boasts some great athletes some of whom are undoubtedly capable of challenging the so far dominant South African. The key names to watch out for are current World Champion, Mario Mola (ESP), this guy has consistently been the fastest runner on the WTS for the last couple of years, if it comes down to a run race in the heat, the Spaniard will be favourite to take the victory. Vincent Luis (FRA) presents another threat, he was third in Abu Dhabi and won the Grand Final in 2017. The Norwegians are back from a snowy altitude camp in the Sierra Nevada headed by Kristian Blummenfelt; the HUUB athlete will be back for redemption after a bike crash put him out of Abu Dhabi. Other key names to watch out for are Richard Murray (RSA), Fernando Alarza (ESP) and Richard Varga (SVK), the HUUB wearing fish. The key question is whether a breakaway materialises, this will certainly be the make or break in many of the athlete's races!
Although Flora Duffy's first WTS outing of 2018 ended prematurely due to a bike crash, she showed she was still the women to beat at the Commonwealth games where she put on a dominating performance alongside HUUB athlete Jessica Learmonth. The British number one won't be racing this weekend, but British ladies are still well represented by rising star Georgia Taylor-Brown, Olympic medalist Vicky Holland and Jodie Stimpson, these three athletes will all be looking at the podium. The American ladies will also be up there fighting for the win, Katie Zaferes, Summer Cook, Taylor Spivey, and Kirsten Kasper have all proved they can make an impact on the race. Other names to watch out for are Rachel Klamer (NED) after her maiden victory in Abu Dhabi, she will be full of confidence going into the second round. As with the men, the race will likely be determined by the swim-bike breakaway.