We'll see a first-time world champion on top of the podium this weekend.

The wait is almost over as the women elite athletes go through their pre-race routines ahead of the 2018 ITU World Series Grand Final in Gold Coast. With reigning two-time ITU world champion Flora Duffy sidelined with a foot injury, we’ll see a first-time world champion on top of the podium. This year’s title will almost certainly boil down to a straight battle between two great rivals: USA’s Katie Zaferes and Great Britain’s Vicky Holland. Whoever crosses the finish line first between those two will most likely be the world champion.

Overall, 58 athletes will be toeing the line in Mitchell Park. They’ll take on a two-lap swim, followed by a flat but intense eight-lap bike, and finish off with four loops and 10km around the park.

Despite not winning a race this year, American Katie Zaferes is the No. 1-ranked athlete in the world. She’s been a consistent performer all year after recovering from a crash in the Abu Dhabi season opener. She finished on the podium six times this year, and knows that Gold Coast would undoubtedly be the time and place to get the first win and guarantee her that precious world title.

Vicky Holland is one person that Zaferes would not want to be facing in this situation, but that is exactly the case. A titanic battle in WTS Leeds saw Holland hold off a brave challenge from the American to win gold, a feat she has repeated in her last two races in WTS Edmonton and WTS Montreal. Those results that have catapulted her into contention, and she looks to be coming to the Gold Coast in her best form.

A strong British contingent sees Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jessica Learmonth as the only two athletes with a mathematical chance of wrestling the World Championship title from their hands, while Americans Taylor Spivey and Kirsten Kasper will want to deliver more than a supporting role and to close out their WTS seasons on a high.

Rachel Klamer’s year could hardly have started any better as she won her first WTS race in Abu Dhabi, but fourth in Leeds has been her best finish since leaving her out of the race for the world title.

The Australian fans will be hoping for a big display from Ashleigh Gentle and Natalie Van Coevorden. Gentle finished second in Edmonton at the end of July and has played a key role in the success of the Australian Mixed Relay team this year along with Van Coevorden, who delivered a brilliant third in Abu Dhabi but has failed to find the podium since.

New Zealand’s triathlon hero Andrea Hewitt has looked strong once more and won here over the sprint distance course, while Japan have Yuko Takahashi and Yuka Sato as their main medal prospects in the 2018 Grand Final.

How to Follow the Race
The women will compete at 3 p.m. Saturday local time (10 p.m. PT Friday/1 a.m. ET Saturday). Watch at Triathlonlive.tv, or follow along on Twitter at @Triathlonlive and with the hashtag #WTSGoldCoast.

ITU WTS Gold Coast Women’s Elite Start List
1 Katie Zaferes USA
2 Vicky Holland GBR
3 Georgia Taylor-Brown GBR
4 Jessica Learmonth GBR
5 Rachel Klamer NED
6 Jodie Stimpson GBR
7 Kirsten Kasper USA
8 Taylor Spivey USA
9 Ashleigh Gentle AUS
10 Laura Lindemann GER
11 Yuko Takahashi  JPN
12 Natalie Van Coevorden AUS
14 Yuka Sato JPN
15 Andrea Hewitt NZL
16 Lotte Miller NOR
17 Alice Betto ITA
18 Non Stanford GBR
19 Joanna Brown CAN
20 Vendula Frintova CZE
21 Claire Michel BEL
22 Summer Cook USA
23 Leonie Periault FRA
24 Chelsea Burns USA
25 Juri Ide JPN
26 Ai Ueda JPN
27 Melanie Santos POR
28 Lisa Perterer AUT
29 Rebecca Spence NZL
30 Gillian Backhouse AUS
31 Charlotte McShane AUS
32 Sophie Coldwell GBR
33 Emma Jeffcoat AUS
34 Maya Kingma NED
35 Vittoria Lopes BRA
36 Elena Danilova RUS
37 Julia Hauser AUT
38 Zsanett Bragmayer HUN
39 Valerie Barthelemy BEL
40 Therese Feuersinger AUT
41 Claudia Rivas MEX
42 Luisa Baptista BRA
43 Romana Gajdošová SVK
44 Sara Vilic AUT
45 Anastasia Abrosimova RUS
46 Anastasia Gorbunova RUS
47 Mengying Zhong CHN
48 Deborah Lynch NZL
49 Gillian Sanders RSA
50 Anna Godoy Contreras ESP
51 Sara Perez Sala ESP
52 Long Hoi MAC
53 Kseniia Levkovska AZE
54 Anel Radford RSA
55 Yi Zhang CHN
57 Antoanela Manac ROU
58 Barbara Riveros CHI
59 Yiming Liu CHN