Vicky Holland to return to the blue carpet at the Tangier World Cup
The chase for Olympic ranking points continues just a week after the Pontevedra Finals in Morocco. The coastal city of Tangier is ready to make its debut on the World Triathlon Cup circuit this weekend, with start lists filled with talent. WTCS medallists will battle against some of the younger rising stars of the sport, and the race on Sunday will also see the return to the competition to Rio 2016 bronze medallist Vicky Holland (GBR) on her first race after giving birth.
Tangier is the first city in Africa -other than Cape Town- ever to host a World Cup, and it means that this year World Triathlon will organize a World Cup on every Continent, showing once more the global growth of the sport. To be contested over a Sprint distance, the athletes will face a 750m swim with a beach start right where the Mediterranean Sea touches with the Atlantic Ocean, to be followed by a flat 20km bike along the seaside in 4 laps, to finish with a 5km run also next to the beach.
Even though Lisa Tertscht (GER) has already secured her ticket for the Paris 2024 Olympics with her fourth place in the Pontevedra Finals last week, the young German is still working on improving her Olympic rankings and will be lining up this Sunday wearing the number 1. She has had her best results this year over Olympic distance races, but she is also the current Sprint champion in Germany, so it will be hard to beat her when it comes to a flat and fast race.
Germany has already given the three Olympic quota places for the females to Tertscht, Laura Lindemann and Nina Eim, but the German’s have four other women in the top 50 of the Olympic Qualification rankings, and two of them are lining up in Tangier despite knowing that most likely there won’t be competing in Paris. Marlene Gomez-Goggle is the highest-ranked one left out of the Olympic selection, even though she was third in both Valencia Cup and Karlovy Vary Cup a month ago, and fifth in two WTCS races this season.
A fast runner and strong swimmer, she will be willing to make an impact on the race from the first strokes, as will be Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer (HUN), always delivering impressive swim segments.
The French squad is consistently producing powerful performances at World Cup level. Andrea Merle and Mathilde Gautier already know what it is to claim a medal at a World Cup, and Lea Coninx, returning to competition after an injury that has kept her out for almost a year, is ready to make herself noticeable again.
Spain’s Noelia Juan has had a fantastic breakthrough season so far, with a career-best 9th place at the Pontevedra Finals last week and a silver medal at the Tiszy World Cup. She proved in Pontevedra, Tiszy and Valencia World Cup that she has the legs to stay with some of the fastest runners of the circuit -and there’s plenty here in Tangier- so keep an eye on her if it all comes to a run race.
Norway’s Lotte Miller and Solveig Lovseth will indeed prove once more that they are amongst the stronger bikers on the field, and it will be critical for them to try to break away as the lineup for Sunday includes some speedy runners. Rachel Klamer (NED), Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) or Tilda Mansson (SWE) will not be easy to beat if it all comes down to a run race.
The World Triathlon Team will have one of the largest representation so far this season, with Zuzana Michalickova (SVK), Amber Schlebusch (RSA) and Hannah Newmann (RSA) making their debut on the team and joining Ivana Kuriačková (SVK).
And many eyes will be set on one of the season’s most awaited comebacks: bronze medallist in Rio 2016 Vicky Holland. Only eight months after giving birth to her first child, the 2018 World Champion mentioned that she wants to try to qualify for her fourth Olympics. Her last race was WTCS Abu Dhabi back in November 2021, but she is now more than ready to set her feet on the blue carpet again.