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Europe Triathlon Cup Quarteira: Preview and how to watch live as a STELLAR field heads for Portugal

Top stars are heading for the beach with an impressive start list for Europe Triathlon Cup Quarteira

Chief Correspondent
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This is a preview of the Europe Triathlon Cup Quarteira, which was won by Hugo Milner of Great Britain and Lisa Tertsch of Germany.

Following the cancellation two weeks ago of World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi, the first scheduled WTCS race of the year, draft-legal racing is back on the agenda this coming weekend.

In status terms, ranking points and prize money, the first ever World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong will certainly take the lion’s share of the headlines. But, for the Elite women in particular, it’s well worth keeping your eyes on the action that will be taking place on Portugal’s Algarve on Saturday afternoon.

The prize purse on offer at the Europe Triathlon Cup Quarteira may be less than a quarter of what will be distributed in the special administrative region in China, but there’s a fair chance we could be watching at least one medallist from Paris 2024.. Perhaps some early clues as to their prospects this summer?

Here are a few reasons to take note of this one – and watch it live, too.

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Quarteira Quality

A long-standing and popular race on the Europe Triathlon calendar, this Olympic distance event has certainly benefitted from that Abu Dhabi cancellation, with plenty of top quality European competition looking to get into racing action, their plans having been derailed in the UAE.

As a result, the Elite women’s start list in Quarteira is a top quality one.

To give some context:

  • The race boasts five of the current top nine athletes, if we reference the latest World Triathlon rankings as a proxy measure of depth of field. With Cassandre Beaugrand (#2), Lisa Tertsch (#5), Georgia Taylor-Brown (#6), Kate Waugh (#8) and Jeanne Lehair (#9), that’s a great starting point.
  • Beaugrand was the winner in Portugal last year, and with the returning Audrey Merle (FRA), Lehair, Mathilde Gautier (FRA) and Yuko Takahashi (JPN) that also means that the ‘horses for courses’ box is more than ticked, with the top five from last year all set to toe the line at Praia de Quarteira once again.
  • Reflecting back on the Championship Finals from Pontevedra last year, that also means that – with the addition of Rachel Klamer – second, third, fourth and fifth from that race could all be present to kick off their 2024 campaigns.
  • On a European level, Lehair and Tertsch took gold and silver at the Madrid European Championships last year, where the bronze medallist was Cathia Schär. The Swiss athlete will also be present, and will look to bring her strong cycling to the six-lap circuit.
  • Another big winner in Europe last year – also with top-tier cycling credentials – is Norway’s Solveig Løvseth, who took double gold at the European Games in Krakow.
  • Looking even further down the list, you’ll find World Triathlon Cup winners like Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL) and the 2021 World Junior Champion, Julie Behrens (GER).
World Triathlon Cup Tangier 2023 - Elite Women (Lisa Tertsch)
Lisa Tertsch ended a fine 2023 with World Cup success in Tangier

You can find the full start list here – but this is certainly a great entry for a Europe Triathlon Cup race.

Of course, such is the way of triathlon start lists and athlete plans changing that we can’t be sure that every name mentioned will be present on race day, but it certainly looks set to be well worth watching on Saturday.

Birthday celebrations for GTB?

Having celebrated her 30th birthday this past week (full details on her Instagram for that!), a return to racing will hopefully also prove a reason for celebration for the Tokyo Olympic Games Individual silver medallist and 2020 World Champion.

A calf tear in the middle of 2023 ended her season far too early, one in which she had seemingly found top form after a slow start with a second consecutive and dominant victory at WTCS Cagliari.

Georgia Taylor-Brown WTCS Cagliari win 2023
Phot Credit: World Triathlon

Extended periods on the sidelines are not new for Georgia, who after winning World Junior Championship silver back in 2013, missed more than two-and-a-half years of international racing. More recently, her efforts at the Tokyo Olympics were exceptional. As if overcoming a puncture to finish second, and then earning Mixed Relay gold were not impressive enough, that came off the back of some incredibly difficult times and no racing preparations at all that year.

In Olympic qualification terms, WTCS Cagliari is the primary target for the Brits, but starting off with a high quality, Olympic distance race will certainly provide an early insight into how GTB’s return to fitness is progressing.

Beaugrand at the double?

The defending Quarteira champion and wearing bib #1, there will be even more eyes on Cassandre Beaugrand at every step this year. The prospect of Olympic success on home turf in Paris year guarantees that.

Test Event silver and Pontevedra bronze means that Olympic selection is already secure, while an early season 5km race suggests her run form is coming along nicely. Add to that, we rarely see her anywhere other than at or near the front of any swim. How will a winter preparing in Loughborough translate to some Portuguese sun? This will be our first chance to check that out.

While those podiums in both Paris and Pontevedra were impressive, both were still slightly hampered by issues with cramping, which have at times impacted her performances over the Olympic distance. Another (potential) narrative to look out for, especially against such strong opposition.

Cassandre Beaugrand WTCS Grand Finals Pontevedra 2023
French triathlete Cassandre Beaugrand in action during the WTCS Grand Finals 2023 in Pontevedra (Photo – Wagner Araujo, World Triathlon).

Another step up for Kate Waugh?

When we looked back on the 2023 season, Kate Waugh was our TRI247 Female Breakthrough Athlete of the Year winner. Winner of the Super League Triathlon Championship Series and second in the Pontevedra Championship Finals, the 2022 U23 World Champion truly made her mark at senior level last year.

Such is the strength in depth of British Triathlon’s female squad, even those stats don’t earn you a berth alongside the pre-selected Beth Potter for Paris, and as Kate herself acknowledges, the battle for selection will be “fierce”.

Way back in April 2023 I spoke to Kate at Arena Games London, and in that article highlighted how she consistently excelled at championship events, during her Youth, Junior and U23 years. Based on that she will, quite rightly, have her primary focus on that WTCS race in Cagliari in May – but with limited opportunities to catch the selectors eye between now and the cut-off date, won’t want to be making up the numbers either. With confidence gained from a great year, she should be in the mix again.

Kate Waugh WTCS Grand Finals Pontevedra 2023
Kate Waugh of Great Britain finishes second in the WTCS Grand Finals Pontevedra 2023 (Photo – Wagner Araujo, World Triathlon).

Vincent is back too

While objectively the Elite women in Quarteira provide the strongest field and appropriately get the bulk of the copy here, the men’s race is likely to be highly competitive too.

With just one finish, fourth in Abu Dhabi, on his 2023 C.V., we’ve not seen double World Champion Vincent Luis on a triathlon course since he had to withdraw on the run at the Paris Test Event. A stress response in his femur followed by that soleus tear all but wiped out is 2023 season – but explain why he’s in the unusual position of 111 in the World Triathlon Rankings and wears bib #6 this weekend.

He’ll be keen to show, again, that those figures are not representative of his true talents. The battle to join Dorian Coninx and Pierre Le Corre in Paris will be a tough one and a strong start here would certainly boost his confidence for the big races ahead.

Vincent Luis - WTCS Bermuda 2022
[Photo credit: World Triathlon]

Among those also heading to the Algarve at Great Britain’s Miyazaki World Cup winner, Hugo Milner, multiple WTCS podium finisher and home favourite, Joao Perreira and Ireland’s James Edgar, who’ll carry bib #1 after four victories across Africa, Asia and Americas Cup events over the last 12 months.

Hugo Milner World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki 2023
British triathlete Hugo Milner wins World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki in Japan in October 2023 (Photo Credit: World Triathlon).

In big-picture terms though, for the men I think that a large number of them will look at this start list and think they have a chance, should the race go their way. Who will take it?

Watch it live

The races will be broadcast on World Triathlon’s subscription service, TriathlonLive.tv, with race start times as follows on the afternoon of Saturday 23 March 2024. In addition, the racing will also be available to watch free of charge on the Europe Triathlon YouTube channel. Race start times are as follows:

  • Elite Women: Local and UK 13:45 / CET 14:45 / 08:45 EST / 05:45 PST
  • Elite Men: Local and UK 16:30 / CET 17:30 / 11:30 EST / 08:30 PST
John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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