This is a preview of WTCS Cagliari, where Britain’s Alex Yee and Georgia Taylor-Brown won for the second season in a row with outstanding gun to tape victories.
The second edition of WTCS Cagliari will be held this weekend, as the capital city of the island of Sardinia hosts the third World Triathlon Championship Series event of the season, following races at WTCS Abu Dhabi and WTCS Yokohama.
Last year, British stars Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee took the wins in Italy on their way to finishing second overall in the series. This year, both will hope victory can help them on their way to the top step of the podium at the end of the season.
Men’s WTCS leader Vasco Vilaca will be on the start line, with women’s series leader Sophie Coldwell opting to sit this race out after winning her first ever WTCS a fortnight ago in Japan.
Start time and how to follow live
An Olympic distance race, the two-lap sea swim takes place at Poetto, Cagliari’s main beach, as the athletes cover 1500m in the Mediterranean.
The 38km bike course is ‘entirely flat’ according to the race guide, and athletes will no doubt be grateful that somebody will be counting the 10 laps for them on a circuit which still manages to squeeze in around 14 corners.
The run – pan flat again – comprises four laps of 2.5km, following much of the same route as the bike course, looping out through the town before coming back in along the beach front.
You will be able to watch all of the action live via TriathlonLive.tv or, if you have access, via the BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and app.
Elite race start times (local) are:
- Saturday May 27: Elite Women – 1100 (1000 UK, 0500 EST)
- Saturday May 27: Elite Men – 1515 (1415 UK, 0915 EST)
The top ranked athlete heading into the weekend is America’s Taylor Spivey. The 32 year old, who has finished third and fourth so far in the WTCS this season, is perhaps the most consistent racer in the WTCS ranks currently. Those impressive stats include only finishing outside of the top-10 in individual WTCS and World Triathlon Cup competition once in the last five years, including fourth at this race which was held in October 2022.
Despite those impressive stats and currently holding the top position in the World Triathlon rankings and second in the 2023 WTCS standings, there will of course still be significant focus elsewhere within the USA team.
Gwen Jorgensen, the 2016 Olympic Champion, will line up for her first WTCS race since she announced her comeback to triathlon at the start of the year, with Katie Zaferes, the double Olympic medalist from Tokyo, also on the start line.
The pair, along with Spivey and a host of other American women, will be competing for the valuable points on offer in Italy, as the race for Olympic qualification heats up heading into the crux of the season, which culminates with the Olympic Test Event in Paris this August.
Talking of competitive teams to make, Britain has two women racing, with WTCS Abu Dhabi winner Beth Potter making the start line after skipping Yokohama, with fellow countrywoman Georgia Taylor-Brown, whose season is moving in the right direction after a slow start, also racing.
Shock WTCS Yokohama runner up Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal of Mexico starts as #2, as Verena Steinhauser and Ilaria Zane feature as the only representatives of the home country.
Absent from the race are American Taylor Knibb, who finished third in Yokohama, Coldwell who leads the WTCS rankings and reigning world champion Flora Duffy, who is on her way back from injury.
In the men’s race, fans are set for the much anticipated battle between Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde. Yee won in Abu Dhabi after Wilde suffered a bike mechanical, and Wilde won a fortnight ago in Yokohama in the absence of Yee.
With all eyes on Wilde and Yee, some top names in the field, such as Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca, might fly under the radar. The young Portuguese athlete, who currently heads the WTCS rankings, leads a strong contingent of JFT Crew athletes in Cagliari including Belgium’s Jelle Geens, Australia’s Brandon Copeland and Hungarian Bence Bicsak.
Defending world champion Leo Bergere will also line up in Sardinia alongside compatriots Pierre Le Corre, Tom Richard and Dorian Coninx, with the race for the French Olympic team in Paris hotting up, especially with Vincent Luis currently sidelined.
As well as the French, the Norwegians will also be in town this weekend, with Gustav Iden, Kristian Blummenfelt and Vetle Thorn all racing. A fortnight ago, Blummenfelt was eighth, Thorn 12th and Iden way down in 39th, as the IRONMAN World Champion’s return to short course racing is still yet to take off.
Finally, Yee will be joined by Jonathan Brownlee and Barclay Izzard in Cagliari, with Brownlee – who finished second here last year behind Yee – looking to go one better this time round.
Recent Cagliari Winners
2022: Alex Yee (GBR) / Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) 2019: Alistair Brownlee (GBR) / Sophie Coldwell (GBR) 2018: Delian Stateff (ITA) / Lisa Perterer (AUT)
2017: Adrien Briffod (SUI) / Jolanda Annen (SUI) 2016: Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) / India Lee (GBR)
NOTE: All previous Cagliari races before 2022 were over the Sprint distance, and were World Triathlon Cup events. The 2023 race will be the second time it has hosted a top tier (WTCS) event, and will also be over the Standard distance.
Prize Money: What’s on the line?
As with each round of the World Triathlon Championship Series (Championship Finals aside), there is a prize purse of $150,000 to be raced for. This is paid 20-deep, with the winners collecting $18,000.
- 1. $18,000
- 2. $12,000
- 3. $8,000
- 4. $6,000
- 5. $4,900
- 6. $4,100
- 7. $3,400
- 8. $2,800
- 9. $2,300
- 10. $1,900
- 11. $1,600
- 12. $1,400
- 13. $1,300
- 14. $1,200
- 15. $1,100
- 16 to 20. $1,000 each