The unpredictable 2020 World Triathlon season comes to a close on Saturday in the city of Valencia when the final sprint-distance World Cup of the year takes to Spain’s east coast. This may only be the fourth World Cup able to be held in the past ten months, but the standard of racing has been incredible with world number ones, Olympic Champions and legends of the sport taking the precious opportunities to gather on the blue carpet.
The race starts with a 750m, one lap swim of Valencia Marina, transitioning into a 4-lap, 20km bike around the edge of the harbour. The 5km run follows exactly the same route for just one circuit and you can watch all the action as it unfolds on TriathlonLIVE.tv.
Saturday 7 November
First to line up will be the elite women, led by Verena Steinhauser. The Italian has been in sparkling form with a top 10 in Karlovy Vary followed by bronze in Arzachena thanks to a lightening bike segment. Despite several third places at this level the top two podium places have eluded Steinhauser to now. This could be the race to change that.
Germany’s Lisa Tertsch again proved she is one of the fastest out there over 5km, scoring comfortably the fastest splits in the last two races in Sardinia and Karlovy Vary. A good swim here could see a first return to the World Cup podium since her brilliant gold in Antwerp last year.
Olympic Champion in 2012, silver medallist in 2016, Nicola Spirig picks up the path towards a possible fifth Games in Tokyo with only a first World Cup appearance of the year to test where her race-readiness is before what should be a huge 2021 of racing for the Swiss star.
Two Brazilians with solid races in Karlovy Vary, Luisa Baptista and Djenyfer Arnold, will be looking to close out 2020 in positive fashion, while Britain’s Beth Potter was in sizzling form on both bike and run in Arzachena to seal a silver that will leave her full of confidence in Valencia.
A predictably strong Spanish contingent will be spearheaded by Anna Godoy Contreras, Xisca Tous and Sara Perez Sala, with a host of local talent taking the opportunity of some World Cup start experience on home turf.
Mexico’s Michelle Flipo scored European Cup bronze up the coast in Barcelona at the end of October and will be raring to go, Australia’s Natalie van Coevorden continues to fly the flag for Oceania and also just needs a good position off the bike to mount a serious challenge for the medals.
Full women’s start list here.
Saturday 7 November
It is hard to look beyond France’s Vincent Luis as the favourite to land a fourth successive 2020 gold in Valencia, but the men’s start list continues to pack in big names that will be ready to pounce if the Frenchman shows any - however unlikely - signs of end-of-year weariness. Luis has been able to hit the front from the first strokes of the swim since the return to racing and whether flat or hilly, sprint or standard distance, nothing has stood in his way.
It was Kristian Blummenfelt who pushed him closest in Italy a month ago, where a tough bike climb played to the Norwegians strengths. Teammate Gustav Iden would also be more at home in the hills but will be looking for an explosive showing on the flat roads of Valencia.
South Africa’s Henri Schoeman made his return to the blue carpet in Sardinia, and continues to gradually test his early Olympic preparations, while Jelle Geens will have his eye on another trademark rapid 5km finale to put himself into contention and could be one of the few who can stretch Luis over the closing stages of the run if still in touch.
Alistair Brownlee’s continues along the path to a second defence of his Olympic title and knows that more displays like October’s in Arzachena will put him in prime contention for a spot on the GB team alongside his brother.
Antonio Serrat Seoane and Genis Grau will be looking to put together big races in their native Spain, USA’s Tony Smoragiewicz and Brazilian Manoel Messias among the talents who could be pushing for a podium spot at the pointy end of the race.
Full men’s start list here.
|Results: Elite Men|
|4.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||00:50:37|
|5.||Antonio Serrat Seoane||ESP||00:50:45|