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Can Gwen Jorgensen Win Her Third Straight World Championship?

We sort through the athletes most likely to be crowned world champ at this weekend's ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico.

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We sort through the athletes most likely to be crowned world champ at this weekend’s ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel, Mexico

The Women

American Gwen Jorgensen is unquestioningly the best ITU female athlete in the world right now. But winning her third-straight ITU World Championship title is far from a guarantee, because the World Champion title isn’t given based on one race; it’s given based on points acquired racing various ITU events throughout the season. Jorgensen shaped her 2016 season around an effort to win an Olympic gold medal (which she did on Aug. 20), which means that chasing ITU points took a backseat this year. But she’s still currently ranked second in points, despite only competing in four WTS events this year. (She won two of those races and finished second and third in the other two.) That means she still has a good shot at earning another world title.

Only one other person has the potential to claim the world championship crown on Saturday if Jorgensen crosses the line in first. Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, a two-time XTERRA world champion, will have enough points to win the title if she finishes in first or second. Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson, who currently sits third in the rankings, is out of the race with an injury, so it looks like this weekend’s race will be a battle between Jorgensen and Duffy. (Read the complete women’s preview at Triathlon.org)

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 12.54.46 PM
From Triathlon.org

The Men

Five-time and defending world champion Javier Gomez (ESP) is recovering from an arm fracture he suffered during a bike crash back in July. That means a new champion will be crowned this year. Like the women, the men’s competition appears to be a two-person race, with Spain’s Mario Mola and Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee separated by only 235 points. To put that in perspective, this weekend’s Grand Final winner will earn 1200 points. Mola has led the series for the majority of 2016 and comes in as the favorite to take his first world championship title.

Regardless of where Jonathan Brownlee finishes, Mola will get the world championship title as long as he finishes first, second or third. That will be no easy task for Mola as he’ll face off against the toughest WTS start list of the year, which includes two-time Olympic gold medalist Alistair Brownlee, South Africa’s Richard Murray, who finished fourth in Rio, and fellow countryman Fernando Alarza. (Read the complete men’s preview at Triathlon.org and see the current rankings below)

From Triathlon.org
From Triathlon.org

Course Profile

Swim (1500m)
Athletes will swim one lap in the Caribbean Sea

Bike (40km)
Athletes will cycle 8 flat, but technical, laps of 5 km each, passing 16 times in front of the transition zone and spectator area.

Run (10km)
Athletes will finish with a flat and fast run of 4 laps of 2.5 km. each. They will pass 8 times in front of transition zone using the FONATUR Marina Triathlon Park and city streets.

How To Follow The Action

The action in Cozumel kicked off on Wednesday with the Aquathlon World Championship, but the elite triathlons won’t get underway until this weekend. Updated 9/16: Due to projected high temperatures for Saturday and Sunday, the times for the elite ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumel were moved up, with the women’s start time now set for 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the men’s set for 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Follow all the events live on Twitter at @triathlonlive. You can live stream the races at Triathlonlive.tv with an all-access pass (for  €9.99) or just follow along with timing and text updates without the pass.