Olympic gold medalists Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and Nicola Spirig (SUI) will make their 2015 ITU World Triathlon Series season debuts at the ITU World Triathlon Cape Town this weekend. Just the fourth WTS race of the year, Cape Town represents the third continent to host the pinnacle triathlon circuit this season. The women are set to start the competition on Saturday, followed by the men on Sunday.
The race marks the first time Spirig has competed in the World Triathlon Series since she won Olympic gold in London. Spirig will face Americans Katie Zaferes and Sarah True, as well as powerhouse Helen Jenkins (GBR), who will also start her season in South Africa after sustaining injuries much of the last year. In the men’s race, Alistair Brownlee returns for the first time this season, and will line up next to the impressive Javier Gomez (ESP), Mario Mola (ESP) and South Africa’s own Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman.
Women’s Preview (Set for 8:55 a.m. EST/ 2:55 p.m. local time Saturday)
With Gwen Jorgensen opting not to make the trip down to South Africa, the top of the podium is up for grabs. The women’s start list includes two of her compatriots who could easily both be in contention to win their first WTS race of the season.
Apart from Jorgensen, Katie Zaferes has the most podium finishes of any other elite woman this year, finishing second in Abu Dhabi and Auckland and third in Gold Coast. Zaferes is No. 2 in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings but will be sporting No. 1 in Cape Town for the first time. Although a fairy recent newcomer to the sport, only competing since 2013, she has shown she is a strong opponent in the short amount of time on the circuit. She has three world cup victories under her belt from the past two seasons and is in the perfect position this weekend to possibly claim her first WTS gold.
Sarah True stands out as the other American that could capitalize on the void in the start list from Jorgensen. A top 10 finish in Abu Dhabi and a silver in Gold Coast makes her second on the startlist. A win from True in Cape Town would give her just her second WTS win after claiming gold for the first time at World Triathlon Stockholm last year.
But the claiming of the Cape is not only in the hands of the U.S. women.
Read the complete women’s preview at Triathlon.org.
Men’s Preview (Set for 8:55 a.m. EST/ 2:55 p.m. local time Sunday)
While the younger Brownlee brother has been busy dominating the WTS circuit, with back-to-back wins in Auckland and Gold Coast, Cape Town will be the host site of the 2015 debut of the other Brownlee. Older brother, Alistair Brownlee (GBR) kicks off his season by competing in his first WTS since his victory at the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton. Brownlee has spent the first part of the year recovering from an injury, but will without a doubt come fresh and well prepared to perform at full capacity this weekend. A healthy Alistair almost insures an unstoppable execution on the course.
With the return of Brownlee, Cape Town is set to also provide the return of the healthy rivalry between Brownlee and Javier Gomez Noya (ESP). Gomez, who also has had season setbacks due to injury, has used the early 2015 season to improve on his racing. But with numbers making the comparison, Brownlee stacks up just a little bit higher than the reigning World Champion. Brownlee currently holds the record for the most WTS race wins at 17, while Gomez sits at 10 victories, a two-way tie between him and Jonathan Brownlee.
Read the complete men’s preview at Triathlon.org.