Beaugrand wears the no.1 as French athletes look to take WTCS Sunderland by storm
Sunderland and the north-east of England will make a World Triathlon Championship Series debut on Saturday, when the 14th successive British leg of top-tier triathlon moves a two-hour drive north of its traditional home of Leeds, 450km north of London, ready to start a new chapter in the country’s racing history.
Roker Beach is the centre of the action, where the crowds will miss out on a close-up of the injured Georgia Taylor-Brown, but will have Olivia Mathias to get behind as the sole Brit in the women’s race up against a powerful-looking French line up and resurgent German team arriving off the back of a celebratory WTCS Hamburg.
Beginning with an anti-clockwise 750m swim in the choppy, chilly sea of Sunderland Harbour, the athletes will then head out onto a technical, five-lap 21.3km bike with one climb, three quick sections, a switchback and dead turns, before wrapping up with a 2-lap 5km run for the medals. As always, you can watch all the action over on TriathlonLive.tv.
Cassandre Beaugrand leads a trio of French talent, fresh from her outstanding WTCS Hamburg victory and looking to build into August’s huge Paris Test Event with another win that would catapult her into second place in the rankings behind the absent Beth Potter. From swim to bike to run, the 26-year-old was again immaculate in Germany, and as a nearby Loughborough resident these days, the ease of a ‘home’ race should only add one more to the list of reasons that a successive Series gold could be hers.
Teammates Emma Lombardi and Leonie Periault return to the blue carpet, Lombardi a top-10 regular in recent Series outings including two silvers in Cagliari, more recently putting in the hours in the Font Romeu mountains and hungry to put those kilometres into race action. Periault’s road back from injury last year has gone well, bad luck in Cagliari notwithstanding, a silver in Montreal a month ago just another signal of her potential for a huge Paris 2024 campaign.
Nicole Van Der Kaay was another to impress in Hamburg, sixth in the individual race, silver with Team New Zealand in the mixed relay, and this weekend would be the perfect moment to score a first Series podium since 2021.
German athletes were collectively on fire on home turf, with Annika Koch and Marlene Gomez-Goggel putting together career-best displays and Lena Meissner again impressing. World Cup winners in Arzachena and Huatulco last year, Goggel and Koch finished fifth and fourth respectively a fortnight ago, the kind of tough, all-in finishes that will steel their confidence for another new challenge and medal hunt in Sunderland.
Expect Zsanett Bragmayer (HUN), Bianca Seregni (ITA) and Vittoria Lopes (BRA) to be leading through the water, the USA’s great Gwen Jorgensen could rip through this 5km run and establish herself back among the best this weekend, at the other end of the experience spectrum but with a no less dangerous kick is Sweden’s Tiszaujvaros World Cup winner Tilda Mansson. Swiss pair Cathia Schar and Julie Derron look destined for an imminent Series podium, and Belgium’s Jolien Vermeylen has shown superb consistency in 2023 and is ready for a Series breakthrough after 9th place in Hamburg.
Related Event: 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland
|Results: Elite Men|
|1.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||00:54:06|
08:37 - 26 Jul, 2023