By Merryn Sherwood on 20/08/13 at 8:58 am
The Triangle: Stockholm Race Preview
1As the penultimate race of the 2013 World Triathlon Series it’s not surprising that the stars will turn out in Stockholm this weekend. Both the men’s and women’s fields boast almost every athlete that is still within reach of claiming the 2013 WTS series titles and more who could still claim a place on the podium. Click here to view the current rankings. This year Stockholm is a full Olympic distance race, after it debuted on the circuit in 2012 with a sprint distance. View the course here.
Elite Men’s Preview
With a stellar line-up that includes Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee, Javier Gomez, Richard Murray and Sven Riederer, the elite men’s race promises to be one of the most hotly events contested all season. And when you then consider it’s the penultimate race in a fascinating 2013 World Triathlon Series season where the race for rankings points will loom almost as large as the race outcome, it’s must-watch action.
So far the 2013 season has been a rarity in that due to a late start to the season, neither Alistair Brownlee or Jonathan Brownlee has taken a lead in the overall rankings. Instead it’s been Gomez, Mario Mola and Joao Silva who have taken turns in the lead with super-consistent performances across the early part of the season, while Murray has also figured in the top-four to sit third in the rankings. The Brownlee brothers currently sit in fifth and sixth, with almost 600 points needed to overtake current leader Gomez. It is plenty to make up, with but extra points on offer in the London Grand Final, it’s still within reach. However don’t expect all those above them to be giving up their lead lightly, and Gomez is currently in the box seat to claim his third ITU World Championship.
Swim (1.5km) – Pontoon start, two 750m laps in Stockholm’s harbour.
Bike (40km) – A transition in front of Stockholm Palace, before a nine-lap 4.5km technical course that circles through the Old Town of Stockholm. A small hill leads into transition.
Run (10km) – Transition in front of Stockholm Palace for a four-lap 2.5km run course.
But what does it mean for Stockholm? Well firstly doing well on the technical bike course, that comes complete with cobblestones in the old Gamla Stan area of Stockholm, could be key. As has been the case most of the season expect the Brownlees, Gomez and Riederer to be in a lead bunch and push the pace, and don’t be surprised if others like Alessandro Fabian, Ryan Sissons and Henri Schoeman are there with them. If they are close off the bike, the run will suit the likes of Murray, Laurent Vidal and Vincent Luis - who claimed his first WTS podium in the sprint event here last year.
And what about the chances of back to back Brownlee, Brownlee and Gomez podiums? So far in their ITU careers, the Brownlees and Gomez have raced against each other 13 times. Out of that 13, they have shared the podium four times. That doesn’t seem that foreboding until you unpick that those four came from the past five races they all hit the startline, across the past three years. The last two races that happened were a year apart, the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Hamburg sprint event this year. While the podium spots were slightly switched up in that time, it was still those three on top. It’s also key to note that this year, no-one else but those three has actually won a WTS race.
Click here to view the Elite Men’s Start List
Elite Women’s Preview
Germany’s Anne Haug regained her spot at the top of the rankings after a stellar win at home in Hamburg last month, but overall there is very little that separates the pint-sized German star and the other women who have taken World Triathlon Series wins alongside her in 2013, Jodie Stimpson, Gwen Jorgensen and Non Stanford.
Stimpson has had her best year on the ITU circuit and is within striking distance of Haug due to her Kitzbuehel win and three other bronze medals this year. Meanwhile the USA’s Gwen Jorgensen has seen a consistent 2013 season - with wins in Yokohama and San Diego - to currently sit in third place. Then there is Great Britain’s Non Stanford, the 2012 U23 World Champion who claimed silver in San Diego, and then blew the field out of the water in a stunning Madrid performance, before collecting another medal in Hamburg. Stanford will have fond memories of Stockholm, as with the team of Jonathan Brownlee, Vicky Holland and William Clarke she picked up a Team Triathlon World Championship here in 2012.
Others to keep an eye on include the New Zealand team of Kate McIlroy and Andrea Hewitt, who has finished fourth in the past two WTS races and will no doubt be keen to break that run. The Netherlands Maaike Caelers is also a threat with success on the course here in 2012, while Ireland’s Aileen Reid has just hit top form again with her first major podium for the 2013 season at the Tiszaujvaros World Cup. Like in the men’s race, expect that those willing to make a break on the technical bike course will do well.
But it’s also likely that none of these women will take the Stockholm title this year due to the return of Olympic silver medallist and 2012 Stockholm winner Lisa Norden. After taking the early part of the year to ramp up her triathlon distance, with some impressive results, Norden returns to ITU racing for the first time since taking out the 2012 WTS title with a gutsy performance in Auckland. While she admits on her blog she is lacking run fitness due to some foot issues this year, it’s hard to discount Norden with that home crowd behind her.
The 2013 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm gets underway on August 24 when the Elite Women start at 1.20pm, followed by the Elite Men’s race at 3:30pm on Sunday August 25. Be sure to follow all the action live through the ITU’s live video stream on www.triathlon.org/tv, or follow via Twitter at @triathlonlive.
Find more details about this event - 2013 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm