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Olympic triathlon great Alistair Brownlee has 20:20 vision for reduced WTCS field sizes

Alistair Brownlee feels a start list of 20 "is about right" for the T100 - and believes it should be replicated at short distance too.

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Redefining triathlon

A multiple World Champion and double Olympic gold medallist, no one has impacted short-course triathlon more than Alistair Brownlee.

His intoxicating style of racing – putting the hammer down on the swim, bike and run – helped animate a golden era of Olympic-distance racing, so few are better qualified when it comes to suggesting ways to improve the World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS), both from an athlete and broadcast perspective.

Is WTCS becoming ‘boring’?

Recently, the likes of Taylor Spivey and Marten van Riel have labelled aspects of WTCS racing as “boring”, especially the courses used.

And when asked about the fact that the start lists at the upcoming T100 Triathlon World Tour would be limited to 20 over a 100km distance, Brownlee took the opportunity to turn the spotlight back on the WTCS, which is run by World Triathlon who have partnered with the PTO for the T100.

Through World Triathlon, the T100 has been designated the ‘official World Championship tour of long-distance triathlon’ and Brownlee said: “I really like the field size being 20, I think it’s about right.

I always try to suggest that World Series field sizes should be smaller.

“I think it has a number of benefits: the swim is safer, the racing is more interesting because you’ve got less drafting issues. You can also have it on a smaller footprint and it’s cheaper to organise – which are all positives.

WTCS Leeds Alistair Brownlee Jonny Brownlee Aaron Royle
Alistair Brownlee dominated at Olympic-distance, with brother Jonny one of his closest rivals (Pic – Janos Schmidt/ITU).

“And it allows the media to focus in. Let’s take the example of a World Series – you might be able to follow a handful of athletes but you don’t follow all 60. I think about 20 is a good number to give media time to pretty much cover the whole field.”

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Is it likely to happen?

There are no imminent plans to reduce WTCS fields, but there’s a strong chance a number of short-course athletes will step up in distance after the Olympics.

Taylor Spivey Olympic Test Event Paris 2023 [Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]
[Photo credit: World Triathlon / Wagner Araujo]

Indeed Spivey will do so beforehand as she’s one of the contracted athletes to the T100 series, which means she needs to feature in at least five events before the Grand Final.

And Super League Triathlon’s Championship Series has long had field sizes of around 20 for their vibrant short and sharp events which are headlined by many WTCS stars.

Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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