Every year and every single new triathlon season always brings its own set of memorable moments such as exciting performances, close battles on the race course, personal best finishes and emotional triumphs. The 2017 season was no different, from the World Triathlon Series, World Cups, Multisport milestones and Paratriathlon Championships, the whole entire season was one for the record books.
So, what better way to honour an amazing season such as the one of 2017 than to name the Best of the Best!
Over the rest of the month of January we will be naming the “Best of 2017” moments from the year, anything from overall athletes to top race performances to inspirational finishes because when you have a year like we just had, you have to celebrate it!
Today we honour the up and coming athletes, the ones to watch because their success is only just beginning: RISING STAR
Male Rising Star: Marten Van Riel (BEL)
There was no better way to end the 2017 season than by getting on three consecutive podiums. Van Riel closed out his year on a career-high note as his in his final three races of the season, he medalled in every single one. Starting in the #SarasotaWC, the triathlon turned duathlon race, he finished second to step onto his first World Cup podium on his season. He then followed it up by claiming bronze in #TongyeongWC and if that wasn’t impressive enough, in the last World Cup race of the year in #MiyazakiWC, he grabbed the gold medal and earned his first-career World Cup win! The 2017 season wasn’t the first time that Van Riel has caught our eye however, he has showcased he is a very strong cyclist on the WTS front and even placed sixth in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. He trains in a group alongside elite superstars Mario Mola and Richard Murray, so he definitely is an athlete that is not by any means done making headlines.
Watch the #MiyazakiWC highlights where he won his first gold medal here!
Female Rising Star: Summer Cook (USA)
Cook had a breakout year in 2016 when she won she first-ever WTS year in #WTSEdmonton. She also collected a handful of World Cup podiums. That success carried into her 2017 season. She finished just off the podium, finishing fourth in #WTSEdmonton, but then competed in the #YucatanWC and claimed gold. She then followed up her victory by earning bronze in #KarlovyVaryWC. After finishing in the top ten at the #WTSRotterdam Grand Final, Cook would end her season on top of two podiums. She dominated the last two World Cup races of the season and won in both #TongyeongWC and #MiyazakiWC. Her success plays out due to her overall strength as a three-sport triathlete. She excels in the water, crushes it on the bike and is a solid runner. While she already is a powerhouse on the World Cup level, she is due to become a regular U.S. strength on the WTS in the years to come.