By Erin Greene on 28/05/14 at 7:00 am
This weekend, Hyde Park will be transformed into a triathlon haven as the world’s fastest elite men take to racing the fifth edition of the PruHealth World Triathlon London. As in years past, London brings out the best of the best with Javier Gomez, the Brownlee brothers, Mario Mola and Richard Murray all on the start list. In the last three races, we’ve seen the men duke it out over the Olympic distance, but the course will be halved on Saturday, which could just be a game changer.
Gomez vs Brownlees in London
2009 – Alistair 1st, Jonathan 26th, Gomez DNF
2010 – Gomez 1st, Jonny 2nd, Alistair 10th
2011 - Alistair 1st, Jonny 2nd, Gomez 4th
Olympic Games – Alistair 1st, Gomez 2nd, Jonathan 3rd
2013 – Gomez 1st, Jonathan 2nd, Alistair 52nd
Ping pong triathlon
In the four years London has been on the WTS schedule, either Alistair Brownlee (GBR) or Javier Gomez (ESP) has won the race, ping-ponging the title back and forth to each other. With the Spaniard winning last year, that could mean it is historically Alistair’s year to serve up the final volley. However, if this season’s record is any indicator, Gomez will be the man to beat.
But there’s another twist this year with the event set to be contested over half the standard distance. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), who has medalled in three of the four World Triathlon London races, is tough to beat in a sprint. Further, he endured a tough loss to Gomez in front of a home crowd down the finish chute last year, which he will surely want to avenge. He’s yet to win this year and has yet to win in London, meaning Jonny just might have the fuel to fire him across the finish first.
The need for speed
Over the past few seasons, training partners Mario Mola (ESP) and Richard Murray (RSA) have been slowly inching closer and closer to the top of the rankings. Two weeks ago, both scored huge breakthrough performances, making the podium ahead of the Brownlee brothers in Japan. The duo have immense run speed and Mola already dazzled with his sprinting abilities when he blew past Gomez at the New Plymouth World Cup earlier this year. In fact, he’s the only man that’s beat or come close to his compatriot so far this year. With confidence as their new weapon, look out for Mola and Murray down the finish chute.
Chances are, the podium will be made up of a mixture of the aforementioned men. But as we all know, stranger things have happened in ITU racing. Our picks for those to mix it up with the leaders are Dmitry Polyanskiy (RUS), Sven Riederer (SUI), and Alessandro Fabian (ITA). Polyanskiy is a familiar face amongst the medallists, as we saw already when he finished third this year in Cape Town. Although he got off to a slow start last year, he finished it on a high with fourth in London giving him fond memories of the venue. While Ridererer and Fabian haven’t enjoyed the same success so far this season, both are quick on the back of a 5km run, making them well suited for this Saturday’s race.
We’d be remiss if we forget the likes of Aaron Royle and a rising Aussie contingency. Together, Royle, Dan Wilson and Ryan Bailie finished in the top five in Auckland and will use London to fine tune race tactics ahead of Commonwealth Games. Likewise up and comers Henri Schoeman and Justus Nieschlag (GER) have been garnering attention for their places at the end of T2. The impressive Ivan Rana (ESP), who has mostly stepped up to longer distances in the past year, will back off the miles in lieu of a quick sprint around Hyde Park this weekend.
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.
Find more details about this event - 2014 ITU World Triathlon London