Potter wears the one as World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi gets 2024 Series underway

04 March, 2024 | español

Potter wears the one as World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi gets 2024 Series underway

On Friday afternoon, 4pm local time, on the edge of the Yas Marina F1 circuit, 55 women will launch themselves and their 2024 World Triathlon Championship Series campaigns, as the horn sounds on this year’s curtain-raiser - WTCS Abu Dhabi.

Among them, all but two of the top 20 who finished that breathless season in Pontevedra last October, where Britain’s Beth Potter secured her first world title, and where Cassandre Beaugrand and Emma Lombardi became the first French women to finish on the Series podium.

But the stories from last year didn’t begin and end with the superb displays and remarkable consistency of that top three. Injury kept Flora Duffy from defending her title, the woman that pushed her all the way in 2022 - Georgia Taylor-Brown - was also a frustrated spectator for a big chunk of the year. There were debut wins and first-time podiums, battles for Olympic rankings and start berths, plus a huge Paris Test Event across a year that had it all on the line.

Now it is showtime again. The biggest names on the planet are ready to go shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time since Pontevedra’s Championship Finals and see just where their form and fitness are at the beginning of this massive Olympic year. Clear the schedules, polish the TV and buckle up, it’s business time once again.

The WTCS Abu Dhabi sprint-distance course is everything that a F1 track should offer – fast and hot, rolling hills and huge potential for some lightning split times. The 750m swim transitions to a 5-lap bike of 20km in total, then it’s a rapid two-lap 5km run to the tape. Watch it all play out on TriathlonLive.tv.

From debut gold to undisputed world champion in six moves

Potter laid down the gold standard here last year, pulling away from teammate Sophie Coldwell over the closing stages to record her first Series win. It was a feeling she clearly revelled in, going on to clock four wins in total last campaign on route to becoming World Champion.

All eyes will be on her once more, and it will be fascinating to see how the indefatigable Potter copes with starting the year with a title of a different kind: favourite. It was one that Georgia Taylor-Brown wore here 12 months ago, only for the occasion to take over, the Brit finishing outside the top 10 for the first time since 2018.

US team deep with talent and Olympic potential

For the US, five women start. Taylor Spivey, the bronze finisher here last year, leads the line hungry for more medals and to show she should be the selectors’ pick for Paris. Summer Rappaport returns from injury after a horrific bike crash in the lead up to last year’s Championship Finals wanting to do likewise.

Taylor Knibb is the only US woman confirmed for Paris, Kirsten Kasper and Rio 2016 Champion Gwen Jorgensen complete a powerful fivesome, all with something to prove.

Two young athletes making waves in 2023 were Germany’s Lisa Tertsch and Jeanne Lehair, 6th and 8th respectively overall in the rankings. Only Potter and Beaugrand have amassed more second-period Olympic Qualification points than European Champion Lehair, who seized every opportunity since switching to Luxembourg with both hands, and both know they have the run speed to podium.

Experienced legends alongside wide-eyed hopefuls

There are stories to be written all the way down the 55 names in Abu Dhabi, not least Australia’s Sophie Linn who delivered a supreme win at the Napier World Cup. Having hit her first Series start line just two seasons ago, the versatile Arena Games Series Champion of 2023 would love to build on her brilliant form and break into the top 10.

Bianca Seregni is Italy’s high-flyer and an absolute torpedo in the water, likely to be out front along with the likes of Rappaport and Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes, and it will be fascinating to see where Maya Kingma’s form lies after an illness and injury-hit couple of campaigns since the glittering WTCS Leeds win in 2021 that cemented her place at triathlon’s top table.

Germany’s Laura Lindemann makes her seventh start in Abu Dhabi, though sixth place in 2018 remains her only top 10 result here, Swiss duo Julie Derron and Cathia Schar are always ones to keep an eye on especially on the bike, while the likes of Alberte Kjaer Pedersen (DEN), Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL) and Jolien Vermeylen (BEL) all have the power to have a big impact on the pointy end of any race.

WTCS Abu Dhabi
8 March, 4pm local time

Full start lists here
Watch: TriathlonLive.tv


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event website

2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi

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