We begin the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series action already two events into a season that picked right up from the pandemic-punctured 2021, after WTCS Hamburg and WTCS Abu Dhabi kicked things off in style. The UAE capital will also host the 2022 Championship Finals, where the new world champions will be crowned in November. Two races in, seven to go, and WTCS Yokohama coming in hot this weekend - the best in the world are ready to toe the line again at last.
Currently at number one in the men’s Maurice Lacroix Rankings is Antonio Serrat Seoane, the 27-year-old who has been waiting patiently in the wings to pick up the Spanish torch held so long by Mario Mola and Javier Gomez. The German pair of Tim Hellwig and Lasse Nygaard Priester have each already amassed over 1,000 points. France’s two-time World Champion Vincent Luis stands ominously by in sixth.
The women’s rankings look more familiar, headed by USA’s Summer Rappaport and Germany’s Laura Lindemann. Bermuda’s WTCS Abu Dhabi winner Flora Duffy and 2020 champion Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) among the big names well in touch.
Duffy is chasing an unprecedented fourth world title, a feat that would surely establish the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion as the greatest of all time. Her fellow record-breaker in 2021, Kristian Blummenfelt, has set himself targets of a longer Kona kind and we will have to wait and see when and where he will race this year. One thing’s for sure, with the fresh crop of talent coming through, he won’t be able to resist the call of the blue carpet for long. Head to TriathlonLive.tv for all of the action live and direct, and on demand.
First up, Yokohama. It’s one of the longest-running races on the circuit, an Olympic-distance challenge that is fast, flat and technical and provides a perfect chance for the athletes to see exactly where they are after an extended off-season. Previously a favourite of Luis and Rappaport, Duffy has won there twice, Taylor Knibb was victorious in 2021… WTCS Yokohama will no doubt be as hard to predict as the year-openers always are. Will the results be as telling as last year’s..?
It was a new-look Leeds circuit unveiled in 2021, the point-to-point section from Roundhay Park into the city centre and subsequent tight urban bike and run course switched for an entirely park-based event with totally new challenges. The bike has draining inclines, the run is demanding all the way to the tape, but last year’s crowds were as big and vocal as ever as Alex Yee and Maya Kingma won the day. After his two silvers here already, could local favourite Jonathan Brownlee finally strike gold?
The new elimination format was a big hit in 2021, particularly with the French, as Dorian Coninx, Vincent Luis and Leo Bergere swept the men’s podium at the end of two hard days of racing four times over the super sprint distance. Duffy proved her versatility with gold after Knibb had looked so strong all weekend, fellow American Taylor Spivey joining them on the podium. This year’s programme includes the Junior and Mixed Relay World Championships and the World Triathlon Age-Group Sprint Championships also return to the blue carpet for the first time since 2019.
Hamburg. Home of triathlon brilliance, breakthroughs and beer showers. For 20 years, the German city has been synonymous with the sport, the Binnenalster Lake complete with the infamous dark, tunnelled segment on the way back to dry land, the crowds always out in force, the champions unpredictable. It was here that Luis and Taylor-Brown were crowned World Champions in a one-off 2020 event, last year the city kicked off this season with Tim Hellwig and Laura Lindemann taking the golds. Mario Mola has a hat-trick of wins here, Duffy and Taylor-Brown one apiece. Expect fireworks.
Already home to several World Cups across several iterations of course, the town of Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia returns to the World Triathlon circuit in 2022 with its first top-tier event and a technically challenging but beautiful course. Blummenfelt won the first ever World Cup race here in 2016, Adrien Briffod, Alistair Brownlee, Sophie Coldwell and Jolanda Annen have all done likewise. It will be over the sprint-distance, starting with a potentially choppy sea swim, and packed with the usual Italian passion and flair. Cagliari will be ready to pull out all the stops as it makes a spectacular WTCS debut.
Bermuda is back! After two years out of the reckoning, the island returns to the calendar ready to deliver another blockbuster. The tropical paradise went triathlon crazy when hometown hero Flora Duffy won the first Series event here in 2018, and collectively lost it when she won the country’s first ever Olympic gold in Tokyo. The party is sure to continue either side of the triathlon action, where the standard distance course again includes nine testing climbs of Flora Duffy (née Corkscrew) Hill. Norway swept the men’s podium here in 2018, Katie Zaferes and Dorian Coninx won a year later. After two years out of the spotlight, Bermuda will be buzzing for its third outing.
World Triathlon Championship Finals Abu Dhabi
Six series events in 2022, two in ’21. The race to amass enough points to become this year’s World Triathlon Champions will all boil down to the best part of two hours in steamy Abu Dhabi. It’s a new-look course that awaits in November, but a similar challenge in the heat of the desert. Part of the circuit since 2015, this will be the third Olympic-distance event held here, the last being in 2017 when Javier Gomez and Andrea Hanson (Hewitt) delivered superb finishes for gold. More recently, Flora Duffy and Jelle Geens were the two to triumph here, but with everything on the line and a new-look course to tackle, this year’s finale will be utterly unmissable.
Can the likes of Hayden Wilde, Jacob Birtwhistle or Marten Van Riel deliver? Could this be Jessica Learmonth‘s year, can Cassandre Beaugrand find world-beating consistency? Stay tuned to TriathlonLive.tv for the answers between now and November
tagsjonathan brownlee vincent luis flora duffy world triathlon championship series laura lindemann taylor knibb jelle geens wtcs