Women's Hamburg Roster Looking to Shake Up Series Rankings
The longest-running World Triathlon Series event returns to the calendar as this weekend the elites head to Germany to compete at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg. As one of the busiest races of the season, the crowds come in the thousands to line the streets and shut down the city in order to cheer for the world’s best triathletes.
This year the elites welcome back the familiar sprint distance course as the WTS begins the second half of the season. The individual races will also once again open up the weekend with both the men and women racing on Saturday followed by the annual Team Mixed Relays event to take place on Sunday for the first time since the exciting announcement that the sport will officially be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic programme.
The women’s start list contains so many medal contenders that the final three on the podium is truly anyone’s game. Topping the roster is USA’s Kirsten Kasper and Katie Zaferes. Kasper has been reaching career milestones this season that could continue this weekend in Hamburg. She stepped onto her first WTS podium in Yokohama, which then aided in getting her the number one spot in the overall Series rankings. However, a milestone she has yet to cross off is winning a WTS event, so her strong running legs could help her earn that next step.
For Zaferes, Hamburg is the place where she earned her first WTS victory. Zaferes remains as one of the strongest U.S. women in the field this season and a sprint distance definitely is where she excels. Last year she took gold in Hamburg on top of many WTS medals. This season, she already earned the silver in Yokohama and it can be in Hamburg once again that can give her gold as she sets out to reclaim her 2016 event title and since she is the only woman racing on Saturday that has won in Hamburg, she has the experience to do so.
Another American that put herself on the map in WTS Leeds is Taylor Spivey, who took the silver in the event and earned her first WTS medal.
Once again, to get to the top means having to go through the reigning World Champ, Flora Duffy (BER). She has been unstoppable this season, winning the last two races in Yokohama and Leeds. Her quest to reclaim her world title has been evident in her racing as her performances are stronger than ever.
But of the four races so far this season, two of them have been claimed by Kiwi Andrea Hewitt. She started off the year with a bang and crushed it in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast, but then has slowed down and did not race in Leeds. However, Andrea is high up in the Series rankings, so final results in Hamburg this Saturday could give a better look at potential World Champions for 2017.
The Aussies want to get back on the podium and two of those hopefuls are Ashleigh Gentle and Charlotte McShane. Gentle was the silver medallist in Gold Coast and then finished in the top ten in Yokohama and Leeds. She has what it takes to earn some hardware, it just comes down to what she can do on race day. McShane also has been working to get back on that WTS podium that she stepped onto last season in Cozumel, it’s just a matter now of when everything will fall into place for her.
The British duo of Jessica Learmonth and Lucy Hall will be racing together. The two have been amazing this season, especially when working together. It is only a matter of time before Learmonth earns her first WTS medal, she is a frontrunner in the swim and excels at the bike, add Hall into the mix and they like to mix up the action out on the course.
Representing for the host nation, Laura Lindemann is a young athlete who was a junior and U23 world champion. Since Hamburg brings out one of the best crowds of the season, the local cheers could really help Lindemann get Germany on the podium.
Another name to watch for is Italy’s Alice Betto. She earned her first WTS podium in Leeds when she claimed the bronze. She has made a name for herself as one of the strongest cyclists in the women’s field this year, so look out for in the lead pack.
The women will get the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg underway at 14:10 on Saturday, July 15, while the men will follow right after at 16:00 local time. Follow all of the action live at triathlonlive.tv and on twitter @triathlonlive.
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