American Olympic hopefuls Gwen Jorgensen and Katie Zaferes will battle it out in two weeks time at the Americas Triathlon Cup event in St Peters Missouri on April 15-16.
Both Jorgensen and Zaferes are returning to racing after giving birth, with Jorgensen coming back to the sport after an extended absence following a switch to athletics after the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Zaferes and Jorgensen are two of only three Americans to win an individual medal at the Olympic Games in triathlon, with both currently working hards towards another shot at a medal by making the US team for the Olympic Games in Paris next year.
Missouri a springboard for bigger things
For both Jorgensen and Zaferes, the depth of quality of the field available at an Americas Cup event is much lower than what they were used to when the pair are in peak condition, more regularly seen in WTCS events.
However, after a long period away from racing, the pair are building back into the upper echelons of short course triathlon racing slowly, and the valuable World Triathlon points available in Missouri will be essential for both Jorgensen and Zaferes to secure starts at bigger races throughout the year.
So far this year, Zaferes has finished 37th at WTCS Abu Dhabi, before following that up with a second place finish at the Americas Cup in Salinas at the beginning of March.
Jorgensen, on the other hand, chose to begin her season in Oceania, where she also finished on the podium at a Continental Cup, with third in the Taupo Oceania Cup before a 14th place finish at the New Plymouth World Cup a fortnight ago.
Zaferes currently sits at #123 in the World Triathlon Rankings, with Jorgensen in #283. The pair also fill positions #178 and #143 in the Olympic Individual Rankings. Thus, a good race in Missouri could determine their next races, which for Zaferes could well be Yokohama WTCS, whilst for Jorgensen racing in Japan seems unlikely.
For the 2016 Olympic Champion then, a good result in Missouri, followed up by some more Americas Cup races in Mexico or Peru could open the door for the next World Cup in Huatulco, which is scheduled for June 17.
Whatever happens, St Peters will give triathlon fans a good idea of how two of the biggest names in US triathlon size up to one another, ahead of a crucial next few months leading into the Paris Test Event in August.