Karlovy Vary ready to stage another mighty World Cup battle in Bohemia this weekend
The third World Cup weekend in a row sees attentions switch from Spain to the beautiful Czech town of Karlovy Vary, and a tough Olympic distance course that has become an athlete favourite on the circuit over the past six years.
It’s all about the challenge held in those hills, starting with a tight 1500m swim before the 6.5km point-to-point bike segment from Rolava Lake swees down into the town centre, followed by seven laps of intense riding. Each exit of transition is followed by a sharp, cobbled climb and eventually a fast, curved descent back into the town centre and with high probability of some rain, things could get interesting where the surface gets wet, while the dim lighting of the tunnel section heading back to the blue carpet requires full concentration.
The 10km run packs rolling climbs over mixed surfaces that will grind down tired legs over four laps, before the final lift of the crowds that always fill the main square. As always, you can watch every minute over on TriathlonLive.tv, with the women going out at 10am and the men at 3pm local time CEST.
Back wearing the number one after her brilliant win last year is Switzerland’s Julie Derron. A minute back out of the water 12 months ago, she then set a lightning tempo on the bike to get right into contention before a gutsy run sealed the gold. Second in Arzachena this year and a first WTCS top 10 in Leeds showed she has carried that form into 2022 and now knows exactly what it takes to podium here.
Looking to halt her march will be USA’s Summer Rappaport, returning to Karlovy Vary for the first time since 2017’s third place. After last year’s demolition of the swim by the eventual bronze medallist Bianca Seregni, Rappaport’s equally powerful stroke could see her form a formidable early break with the Italian, who scooped another bronze in Huatulco in June and now stands 35th in the world rankings.
The World Cup winner last weekend in Valencia was Germany’s Lisa Tertsch, and the 23-year-old is in a purple patch of fine form right now over both distances having scored a first WTCS podium with bronze in Hamburg and silver in Pontevedra. With a lot of racing under her belt, this will be another massive test after last year’s disappointment of not finishing.
The same can be said of the test ahead of teammate Nina Eim, whose only World Cup podium to date was back in 2019 despite regularly being in contention over the closing stages, and she is surely due to convert her consistency into another medal soon.
Tertsch was able to outrun Leonie Periault over the final 500m in Spain, but with the French star’s return to full fitness seemingly now complete, this could be the ideal course to test her stamina heading into the end of the season.
Japan’s Yuko Takahashi returns to the blue carpet with confidence high after an excellent race in Bergen. This will be her first taste of the Karlovy Vary challenge and it is one that could suit her powerful riding style.
Tenth last year, Luisa Iogna Prat was part of the lead bike group then just fell away on the run but, like fellow Italian Seregni, has every chance to make an early impact again with a strong swim, while Erika Ackerlund (USA) will be aiming to get on that front pack out of the water this time around after chasing her way to 8th twelve months ago.
A brilliant display in Bergen delivered the current Junior World Champion Tilda Mansson a surprise win in Norway, so all eyes will be on the 18-year-old as she looks to continue the impressive form that has also seen her hoovering up Junior European Cup golds all year. The jump to standard distance was far from easy in Pontevedra, however, and Karlovy Vary represents a significantly different course to those she is used to as a Junior.
Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes returns to the blue carpet for the first time since Hamburg and will relish the opportunity to deploy her imperious swim over the technical 1.5km opening segment, while teammate Luisa Baptista will want to put last weekend’s disappointment behind her and revel in the Czech challenge.
Related Event: 2022 World Triathlon Cup Karlovy Vary
|Results: Elite Men|
|4.||Roberto Sanchez Mantecon||ESP||01:52:03|
04:15 - 13 Sep, 2021
10:23 - 12 Sep, 2021