Un fine settimana di fuoco. Riflettori internazionali e accesi a piena potenza nella giornata di sabato 18 maggio.
A Yokohama, in Giappone, spazio alla terza tappa di World Triathlon Series con quattro alfieri italiani al via mentre il secondo appuntamento dell'anno con la World Paratriathlon Series conterà un azzurro in gara. Nella stessa giornata, con qualche ora di ritardo per il fuso orario, va in scena la World Cup Cagliari, unica tappa italiana del circuito mondiale.
Per quanto riguarda la World Triathlon Series, l'appuntamento presenta una start list di grande valore tecnico essendo la prima occasione agonistica di WTS nel periodo di qualificazione olimpica dunque utile a racimolare punti in vista di Tokyo 2020. A difendere il Tricolore, saranno al via Alice Betto (G.S. Fiamme Oro), Anna Maria Mazzetti (G.S. Fiamme Oro), Verena Steinhauser (G.S. Fiamme Oro) e Alessandro Fabian (Trif Dream) mentre a supporto degli azzurri saranno presenti Joel Filliol (Olympic Performance Director), Fabio Rastelli (Program Manager / Assistant Coach) e Jose Miota (Fisioterapista). Al via della prova su distanza olimpica, si presenterà il vincitore dello scorso anno e campione del mondo in carica, lo spagnolo Mario Mola (in gara anche Birtwhistle e Alarza, secondo e terzo nella passata edizione) mentre sarà ancora a fuori dal circuito la trionfatrice della scorsa stagione Flora Duffy, ma saranno presenti la leader del circuito WTS Zaferes (Usa) e la britannica Stanford, entrambe sul podio in Giappone del 2018.
Alla World Paratriathlon Series, gareggerà Giovanni Achenza (G.S. Fiamme Azzurre), reduce dal podio nella categoria PTWC alla tappa dell'Idroscalo di Milano, che sarà supportato dal Direttore Tecnico Mattia Cambi.
Sabato 18 maggio (ora locale, in Italia – 7 ore)
06:45 Paratriathlon Athletes Introductions
10:16 Gara Donne
13:06 Gara Uomini
Achenza di bronzo nella World Paratriathlon Series di Milano. Quarto posto per Barbaro e Sicura
World Series Yokohama 2018: trionfo Duffy, prima stagionale di Mario Mola
World Cup Cagliari: definite le start list per l'appuntamento del 18 maggio
Yokohama welcomes elite triathletes for the 10th year with races more open than ever
For the third stop of the 2019 World Triathlon Series the elite triathletes head to Japan once again to return to the familiar event of the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama. In the race 10th anniversary, the event marks the start of the second period of the Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020, and 50 men will toe the line with a start list stacked with legends of the sport and all the upcoming rising stars.
It looks like 1990 was a good year to be born at if you want to succeed at the sport of swim, bike and run, with Mario Mola (ESP), Vincent Luis (FRA), Joao Silva (POR) and Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) sharing birth year. And all of them, except the younger Brownlee who had to withdraw last minute, will be toeing the start line in Yamashita Park.
This Saturday, wearing the golden number one that identifies the current leader of the World Triathlon Series will be Luis, who despite finishing in a bitter fourth place in MS Amlin Bermuda three weeks ago is in a great shape and will want to improve his best result ever in the land of the rising sun: a 10th place.
Luis will be the leader of an impressive French squad, with Leo Bergere -22 years old- making his debut in Yokohama to try to prove that his current third place in the WTS rankings is not by chance, and determined to get into his first ever WTS podium this weekend. With them, toeing the start line will be Dorian Coninx, who proved with his win in Bermuda that when it comes to Olympic distance races, he must be considered.
But if the French are coming to Yokohama with all their guns, so are the Spaniards, Norwegians and the Brits.
If there is anyone who knows what it takes to win in Yokohama is Mario Mola, winner in the last three WTS races here. Last year, the three-time world champion performed one of the best swims of his career to claim the title in Yokohama, a thought that will likely help him overcome his disappointing swim in Bermuda, where he finished in an unusual 36th place. But three weeks have passed since that and the Spaniard is looking forward to return to the podium, if possible, surrounded by his teammates.
Fernando Alarza (ESP) also knows what it is to be in the podium in Yokohama (third place in 2018) and this season (also third in WTS Abu Dhabi), and after a disappointing performance in the Madrid World Cup two weeks ago due to a mechanical issue during the bike course, he is ready to perform at his best this weekend.
Bermuda saw the comeback of one of the triathlon legends: Javier Gomez Noya (ESP). At 36 years old, the Spaniard -five times world champion- showed that he was serious when he announced that he wants to qualify for Tokyo 2020, and a technical course as the one in Yokohama can suit him perfectly. Specially, if ‘The Captain’ is surrounded in the bike leg by strong men like the Norwegians, the French and the Germans.
The hopes of the British team will be set on one of the young talents that has proven this season that a new generation is coming, and quickly: Alex Yee. With only 21 years old and one of the fastest runners of the circuit, the Brit young gun is making his debut in an Olympic distance WTS, but expect him, along with Bergere, Hayden Wilde(NZL), Antonio Serrat Seoane (ESP) and Bence Bicsak (HUN) to speed up the race as much as they can.
And with a flat but hard course as it is in Yokohama, other ones to watch will be the Norwegian trio -Gustav Iden, Kristian Blummenfelt and Casper Stornes-, the Aussies Jacob Birtwhistle and Aaron Royle; Tyler Mislawchuk (CAN) or Marten van Riel (BEL).
The season couldn’t have started better for Katie Zaferes. Two consecutive victories in WTS Abu Dhabi and WTS Bermuda have put the American triathlete in an excellent position to try to continue her winning streak and step on top of the podium this Saturday at the 10th edition of the WTS Yokohama.
Since 2013 and until 2018, the race in Yokohama has seen only two female winners: Gwen Jorgensen (USA) and Flora Duffy (BER), and with none of them racing this year, the floor is more open than ever. But the favourite for this year’s edition is indeed Zaferes, willing to improve the second place she earned last year, and in a great form in the first races of the season.
Along her will be her teammate Taylor Spivey, whose best result in Yokohama is a 26th place, but she is determined to improve that and earn some really valuable points in the first event of the second period of the Olympic qualification. Chelsea Burns, Summer Rapapport, Renee Tomlin and Tamara Gorman will complete the American team in Yokohama, all of them super reliable when it comes to Olympic distance races.
Showing all the power will be also the British, for whom Yokohama will be one of the two events in which a podium finish will put that athlete in a leading path to the Olympic team. And fighting for that podium spot will be Jessica Learmonth, the more reliable Brit so far of the 2019 season, after her second place in Bermuda and her third in Gold Coast. But coming strong will be Non Stanford and Georgia Taylor-Brown, both fast runners and strong bikers, suited perfect for this type of circuit.
And with some of the legends of the sport not racing currently, the eyes will be set in some newcomers that have proven in the last few races that they have to be considered when it comes to the podium hopes. Joanna Brown(CAN) arrives to Japan after getting her first ever WTS podium in Bermuda, and knowing that Yokohama has not been her best race before and there is plenty of room for improvement. Same thing applies to Lotte Miller (NOR), one of the strongest bikers of the circuit, and willing to bring her performance one step further to what she did in Bermuda.
Fast runners like Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) or Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) might also have a chance of finishing in top positions, but they will have to keep up with the Brits and Americans in the swim if they don’t want to loose their chances.
With Yuko Takahashi, Ai Ueda, Juri Ide and Yuka Sato being cheered by the local spectators, other ones to watch will be Belgium’s Claire Michel, France’s Leonie Periault, Maya Kingma (NED) or Lisa Perterer (AUT).
WTS Yokohama will be disputed over an Olympic distance, with a 1500 swim near the Osanbashi Pier, followed by nine laps of 4.5km on the bike each around Yokohama and four laps of 2.5km run to cross the finish line in the Yamashita Park. Elite Women’s race will be broadcasted live on TriathlonLive.tv, starting on Saturday May 18 at 10.06 local time.
(fonte: comunicato stampa ITU)