With the second period of the Olympic qualification starting this weekend, it was clear that the field for the 2023 WTCS Cagliari women’s race will be stacked. What not so many could have guessed is that the pristine beach of Poetto, in Sardinia, will see the 2016 Rio Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen lining up against the best of the best triathletes of the world for the first time in over six years on what promises to be an epic battle this Saturday.
Fifty women will line up this Saturday ready for a 1500 swim in two laps, followed by a 38km flat bike course in 10 laps on a course in which the wind can make a serious impact on the race, to finish the race with a flat 10k run that might be potentially perfect for some of the strongest runners on the field.
And it will be a fast runner indeed wearing number 1 this Saturday, USA’s Taylor Spivey. The American has shown this season once again that she is always one to watch, especially when all the athletes make it to the second transition together, but she has yet to end a Series race on top of the race, and is clearly looking at this as a perfect opportunity for a career-best result.
But she will have to keep an eye on some other fast runners, like Mexico’s Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal, the surprise of Yokohama, when a fabulous run took her to the silver medal, the best position for her country in more than a decade. She has proven that she has the legs to finish among the top ones, and she doesn’t seem to be afraid to prove it once again.
Team USA will be one of the strongest in years, including Spivey, Summer Rappaport, Kirsten Kasper, Erika Ackerlund and what has been already called ‘the battle of the mums’, which could also be renamed as the ‘battle of the Olympic medallists’. Rio 2016 Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen is returning to the Series after a six year hiatus, two little boys and her announcement three months ago that she would love to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Also lining up this Saturday will be Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Katie Zaferes (USA), also a mother, and who is trying to make up enough points to be a regular not only on the WTCS start lists but also qualify for the next Games.
They are both fast, they have won multiple times WTCS events -17 times Jorgensen; 6 times Zaferes- and they are hungry for more medals to add to their already impressive tally.
And if Team USA is a strong one, keep an eye on Team GB, even though the current Series ranking leader, Sophie Coldwell, is skipping this race. One of the fastest women on the circuit, Beth Potter, is returning to competition after striking the first Series victory of her career last March in WTCS Abu Dhabi. Her teammate and silver Olympic medallist Georgia Taylor-Brown has yet to step on a podium this season, but Cagliari surely brings nice memories for her, after her dominant win here last year.
Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) is another one that has chosen to skip Yokohama to return to competition in Cagliari, and if the group stays together on the bike, will be indeed a one to follow on the run. So will be her teammate Emma Lombardi, eager to repeat her success here last year.
The Women’s race will start Saturday at 11.00am local time, and you can watch it live and on demand on TriathlonLIVE.tv. You can also watch with the PROTRINEWS alternative commentary here, or with Spanish commentary here.
You can check the start lists here