Coldwell eyes chance to open up early Series lead at WTCS Yokohama
The World Triathlon Championship Series rolls into Yokohama on Saturday for the second of eight stops on this year’s tour (including the Paris Test Event), that will ultimately decide our 2023 World Champions in Pontevedra at the end of September.
First up was March’s sprint-distance opener Abu Dhabi, now it’s back-to-back Olympic distance action, with 1,000 points on the line in Japan and then again in Cagliari, Italy, in two weeks’ time.
With defending champion Flora Duffy still absent with injury, WTCS Yokohama will be wide open as the athletes take the chance to find some quick-fire race consistency for the first time this year. As always, you can watch full coverage from 10am on Saturday 13 May on TriathlonLIve.tv.
Coldwell wears the one
Great Britain’s Sophie Coldwell surprised herself with silver in Abu Dhabi back in March, a last-minute decision to race on the way back from a training block in Australia proving the right one as she recovered from a false-start penalty to take second behind Beth Potter.
Potter won’t be on the start line in Yokohama, preferring to focus instead on her Cagliari preparations, so Coldwell will wear the number one. Teammate and overall 2023 Series runner-up Georgia Taylor-Brown finds herself in an unfamiliar position lower down the start list after a 15th-place finish in Abu Dhabi that was disappointing by her own extremely high standards. The champion here last year, a similar display would be just the tonic the 29-year-old will be looking for to kickstart her title challenge.
Knibb tests new toe
Taylor Knibb and Taylor Spivey lead the line for the USA, Knibb with one win from two appearances here, Spivey’s best a bronze out of her five Yokohama showings to date. For Spivey, 2022 was all about rediscovering her love for the sport after a tricky previous 12 months and the disappointment of missing out on a first Olympics in Tokyo. That x-factor was back for all to see in Abu Dhabi as she finished third, so could that elusive first WTCS gold be on the horizon?
For Knibb, a stress fracture that wouldn’t heal at the tail end of last year eventually led to surgery at the start of 2023, and a screw inserted into her fifth metatarsal. While that will mean she hits Japan a little race rusty, it also means that she will be hungrier than ever to unleash that signature bike power that could blow the field apart just as it did in 2021.
Lombardi’s big 12 months
France’s Emma Lombardi had an outstanding 2022, beginning with fourth place on her WTCS debut on this very course thanks to a run time just a few seconds off Flora Duffy’s. With no obvious weakness across the three disciplines, the build up to a home Olympic Games next year in Paris is a fascinating prospect for the talented former U23 World Champion.
Yuko Takahashi finished agonisingly close to a first home Series podium back in 2019 after biking her way into contention, and though that 4th place remains her best finish on the circuit to date, the 2022 Asian Champion arrives in form and ready to rise to the occasion once more.
Add in the German threat from the likes of Lisa Tertsch and Laura Lindemann, the attacking instincts of Netherlands’ Maya Kingma, Italian Bianca Seregni’s pace-setting swim and the flowing confidence of Australia’s recently crowned Arena Games Triathlon World Champion Sophie Linn, and this looks set to be a Yokohama classic in the making.
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