By Erin Greene on 13/05/14 at 11:11 am
Yokohama will be the first race of the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Series that will see Javier Gomez, Jonathan Brownlee and Alistair Brownlee go head to head in combat. The trio will duke it out over a two-lap swim, nine-lap bike and four-lap standard distance course in the Yokohama harbour on Saturday.
In the last 20 times that Javier Gomez and Alistair Brownlee have met at WTS races, Alistair has won on 15 of those occasions. But that was then and this is now. Gomez is not waiting to make a move in the Threadneedle rankings, having destroyed the competition, including younger Brownlee brother Jonathan, in the last two WTS events. But as we saw last year in San Diego when Alistair charged away from the competition for the win, missing the first few races of the season has no impact on his ability to win.
But what Jonathan and Gomez have that Alistair doesn’t is experience racing in Yokohama. This Saturday will mark the first time the London Olympic gold medallist competes on the course, which could fuel his motivation but may also work against him. Jonathan, however, started his 2013 season with a bang in Yokohama, trudging through a wet and muddy course for the top spot ahead of Gomez. And while Gomez has raced here three of the last four Yokohama events, he has yet to win in the Japanese city. Conclusion? You’re just going to want to watch this one.
History on Silva’s side
Portugal’s Joao Silva may have had a slow start to the year, but Yokohama is his hunting ground. Silva has medalled three times at the race, winning it in both 2011 and 2012. Last year his reign slipped to third behind Jonathan and Gomez, but keep an eye on this stealthy athlete on the run to keep his winning record on track.
Come from behind
Yokohama’s technical course doesn’t lend itself well to breakways. But as we learned in Cape Town, that doesn’t much matter to Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA). These training partners absolutely demolished the competition on the last discipline, running themselves from a minute deficit into the top five with the fastest run splits of the day. Mola split an eye-popping 29:58 10km time meaning this Spaniard can get business done if he is anywhere near the leaders off the bike. Look out folks. These guys are the new threats.
Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS) might not have had such a stellar 2013 season, but he successfully reminded the field exactly what he’s capable of when he held Mola at bay in Cape Town for bronze. He will no doubt be a leader out of the water and can hold his own on the bike. The trick will again be to secure enough lead out of T2 to hold off the likes of Mola and Murray. Similarly, athletes like Aaron Royle (AUS) and Ryan Sissons (NZL) are making name for themselves as all-round triathletes that can do damage.
Follow all the events live with timing and text updates, at triathlon.org/live and on twitter at @triathlonlive. Don’t forget to pick who you think will be on the men’s and women’s podiums with TRIFECTA.
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