The first ever Super-Sprint World Championship titles are up for grabs at WTCS Hamburg this weekend, at the heart of another packed schedule of racing in Germany’s triathlon capital and the longest-running top-tier event in the sport.
The 60 women will line up on Friday across two qualifiers, knowing that the top 10 will go straight onto the 3-stage Saturday final. The remaining 40 athletes will be split across two repechage play-offs, from which only the fastest five will go through from each.
The course is tight and testing, the 300m swim complete with notorious 40m tunnel section, to be followed by three laps of 2.5km of the city centre streets and closing out with a 1.75km run. It’s a one-off for the qualifiers and repechages, the whole thing repeated three times in the finals, with the last ten across the line shaved off the next start leaving ten men for the gold. Watch it all over on TriathlonLive.tv.
QUALIFIER HEAT ONE
Getting the women underway in heat one will be current world number one Taylor Spivey, the American delivering another consistent season so far and gunning for yet another Series podium. This was a format that suited her well back in 2021, when she took the bronze behind Flora Duffy and Taylor Knibb in Montreal, while last year the 32-year-old had the dubious honour of being the only woman to start all five races after qualifying via the repechage, eventually taking 6th place.
No doubt the American will want to avoid the extra race this time around, but the task is a tall one with some excellent running talent lining up alongside her. Not least Britain’s Beth Potter, the only athlete with two Series wins so far in 2023 and owner of one of the strongest kicks in the business. Few can touch her once in full flight over 5km or 10km, and she will be straight onto the gas over the 1.75km to be sure of qualification.
Lisa Tertsch is another who has impressed in recent years at the Series level, her first podium coming here a year ago, and the big Hamburg crowds will be on hand again to give the 24-year-old an extra boost once more and could be vital for the energy levels in the prospect of a three-stage finals.
Other in-form athletes hitting heat one include Norway’s newly minted European Games champion Solveig Lovseth, Italy’s Verena Steinhauser, a top-10 finisher in WTCS Bermuda and the Abu Dhabi season opener and Switzerland’s Cathia Schar, third at the European Championships Madrid.
Jolien Vermeylen is coming off the back of an intense period of racing, most recently taking bronze in Tiszaujvaros and bronze in Krakow behind Lovseth. Canada’s Dominika Jamnicky and Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes will be looking for safe passage through to build on their respective 28th and 33rd-place finishes last year.
QUALIFIER HEAT TWO
USA’s Summer Rappaport delivered a brilliant performance in WTCS Montreal to score a first Series podium since the sprint-distance WTCS Hamburg 2021. It was also here that she won bronze in 2019, arguably in the form of her life at that time, but once more a year out from an Olympics and hitting her stride, a 5th place finish over the elimination format last year proved she also has the explosive power required for the demands of the super-sprint.
Second onto the pontoon will be Jeanne Lehair (LUX), in the form of her life at the moment after two top 5 Series finishes and recently crowned European Champion in Madrid, her run improving with every outing since making the switch from representing France to Luxembourg that has opened the door to more race opportunities at the top level.
Cassandre Beaugrand arrives from an altitude camp to see how that will have set her up for a hugely important spell of racing that will run from Hamburg to the Paris Olympic Test Event in August. An outstanding super-sprinter, it was also here that she won her first Series gold, meaning the stars could be aligned for only her second WTCS outing of 2023.
The last time the USA’s Katie Zaferes and Gwen Jorgensen were on a Hamburg start line together was back in 2016, when Zaferes won gold and Jorgensen the bronze, and both continue their respective journeys back to the kind of performances that they will hope can put them into Paris 2024 contention with the selectors.
Rachel Klamer was the silver medallist on that day in 2016 and goes again on a course that has seen some of her best performances, Laura Lindemann another athlete who has saved some of her best performances for WTCS Hamburg, her first victory at the top level coming here in 2021.
Full start lists available here.