After a hiatus from its famous downtown home in 2020, the Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon Championship Series returns to the city centre this weekend and on the 20th edition of the race one element is even more notable: the first Maurice Lacroix Ranking points of the 2022 season will be awarded.
The Season Like No Other crowned two outstanding World Champions in Edmonton, each seeing through meticulous plans decades in the making. Now, the 2022 Breakthrough Season will get underway with an exciting blend of hungry young talent and experienced campaigners on Saturday. From German Olympic star Laura Lindemann to those still taking early steps in the Series like Denmark’s Alberte Kjaer Pedersen, the race is set to be as unpredictable as it is revealing of the emerging names ready to forge fresh reputations at the highest level of the sport.
The sprint-distance course will be familiar to many. A 750m swim in the Binnenalster lake finishes with a 6m wide, 40m long stretch in the dark bridge tunnel, followed by 6 laps of a tight bike with two 180-degree turns and all wrapped up in a 5km run that finishes in front of the iconic Rathaus town hall. It’s challenges like this that the Series is all about, and you can watch it all from 3.30pm CEST on TriathlonLive.tv
It is Lindemann – a two-time bronze medallist and winner of the silver in 2018 - who will wear the number one on a course she knows and loves. A former Junior and U23 World Champion, there isn’t much that the 25-year-old hasn’t already achieved in her young career. A Series gold is one of them, however, and to earn it from the front on home turf would be extra special.
Among those hoping to delay that triumph are the Italian duo of Alice Betto and Verena Steinhauser, two hugely consistent athletes with the grit and controlled aggression to be able to produce something special here.
If it is experience that could win the day, you need look no further than Japan’s Ai Ueda. After missing out on a chance to compete at her home Olympic Games, the 37 year old once again showed just what she is capable of with an outstanding silver in Karlovy Vary, and there is no doubt that behind the smile will be a steely determination to show the young guns exactly what she can do in what is remarkably her 12th top-tier Hamburg appearance.
The USA’s Summer Rappaport returns to action after what was, by her high standards, a disappointing 16th in Edmonton. A bronze medallist here in 2019, a first sprint distance race since April could be just the time to bring out one of her trademark runs to the podium.
It was in the humidity of Huatulco that Kjaer Pedersen made a name for herself back in June before scoring U23 World Championship silver last month, and Denmark’s bright young hope will be eager to get the Paris 2024 ambitions on track with something special in her second Hamburg outing.
Australia’s Emma Jackson and Natalie van Coevorden will want to rekindle their past top 10 successes here, Jackson having twice left with the silver and comes back with targets set on chasing the form that has made her such a force over the years.
Key figures in the New Zealand Mixed Relay team and firmly establishing themselves on the elite circuit are Nicole Van Der Kaay and Ainsley Thorpe, both enjoying their recent outings at the Olympic Games and then in Canada’s back-to-back weekends and looking ready to push on over the coming season.
Sian Rainsely leads the line for the new generation of Brits looking to seize their opportunities along with Olivia Mathias and Series debutant Kate Waugh. Rainsley made her first WTCS start in Leeds back in June, finishing ahead of the likes of Katie Zaferes and Non Stanford with a very creditable 13th on debut.