World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama: 5 things we learned
The 2023 edition of WTCS Yokohama ticked all the boxes once again, with brand new winners of both the men’s and women’s races setting the course alight and the early season on fire.
With Olympic-distance races worth 1000 ranking points compared to 750 for the sprint, the decision by the likes of Alex Yee and Cassandre Beaugrand to sit out Japan may have raised a few eyebrows, but one thing is for sure - we are set for a blockbuster in Cagliari. Sophie Coldwell leaves Japan with a 260-point lead at the top of the women’s rankings, Vasco Vilaça with 200 points advantage over second place Dorian Coninx in the men’s.
You can watch all the Yokohama action back on TriathlonLive.tv, but for now, here are five takeaways from the land of the rising sun.
1. Mexican triathlon is ready to take on the world again
It has been coming. Anahi Alvarez Corral ran her way onto the Valencia World Cup podium last year at the age of 21, the 2018 Junior World Champion Cecilia Sayuri Ramirez Alavez has kicked on to some solid elite World Cup displays, but it was Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal grabbing all the headlines as she ran her way into silver on Saturday and became the first Mexican athlete on a Series podium since Crisanto Grajales in this very city back in 2016 and the country’s first woman to finish inside the top 10 since 2015.
2. The swim can’t win you a race but…
Hayden Wilde set himself up perfectly with a swim leg that saw him exit right on the feet of Henri Schoeman and Takumi Hojo, Maya Kingma set the pace in the women’s swim after China’s Yifan Yang had gone out fastest over the first lap, but further back was another story. Georgia Taylor-Brown was an uncharacteristic 30 seconds back into T1 just as she had been in Abu Dhabi, while Gustav Iden found himself over a minute adrift heading out of the water. Neither was able to make meaningful headway over the 40km bike so that even with solid runs, they never really looked like threatening for the medals.
3. Lehair running into form
Since making the switch to racing for Luxembourg at the tail end of 2022, no one can accuse Jeanne Lehair of not taking the opportunities that have come her way. If a top 20 in Bermuda was solid rather than spectacular, bronze in a strong European Cup field in Quarteira showed her form, then Yokohama saw her score the second fastest 10km run split in the field, just off Nina Eim of Germany and half a minute faster than France’s latest powerhouse Emma Lombardi. File under ‘one to watch’ in Cagliari.
4. Wilde timing
Hayden Wilde’s watch-wearing drew some attention, making a point of clocking it several times as he set about the opening few hundred metres of the run. His post-race interview revealed it was more to do with what is to come from his first battle with Alex Yee in 2 weeks’ time. “I really wanted to go quick, sub-29, and I was on pace quite nicely so on the last lap wanted to push a bit more but I know in two weeks I need to go up against Alex in Cagliari, so I just eased it off a bit not be too cooked in two weeks time… good to know i’ve got a little left in the tank.” That run should be fun in the Sardinia sun.
5. Yoko = poncho
Yes, it rained again. Hard. In fact, it has rained in 11 out of the 13 Series weekends that Yokohama has hosted to date, so while the downpours weren’t exactly a big surprise on Saturday, they did still take out a few contenders along the way as the surface got slippery. The lesson is simple. Bring your best bike skills and stay out front as much as possible.
Related Event: 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama
|Results: Elite Men|
|Results: Elite Women|
|2.||Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal||MEX||01:53:49|
It’s Sophie Gold-well in Yokohama as Brit scores major first Series win06:46 - 13 May, 2023