WTCS Leeds 2022 takes centre stage in the triathlon world this weekend, and while he won’t be racing it remains a very special event for Alistair Brownlee.
The two-time Olympic Champion never dreamed that he would have a World Series race on his home patch, but here it is – now established in the elite calendar, its sixth edition coming up this weekend.
Brownlee’s exploits – and those of brother Jonny – played no small part in making this whole thing possible, and it promises terrific excitement again with stellar fields slated to start the races for women, men and Mixed Relay.
Alistair recorded a short video for World Triathlon this week, where he talked about why WTCS Leeds holds such a special place in his heart.
“Getting a World Triathlon Series event to Leeds was a massive memory and something that was something that was just fantastic,” he explained.
“Going back a few years we’d never have believed that you’d have a World Triathlon Series in Leeds. Racing in cities all round the world, so to have it in the home city was really special.
“On the start line you can hear the crowd cheering you on, or you hit the transition and you can hear the roar of the spectators. That’s what makes events special and that’s what you want as an athlete.”
Brownlee on WTCS course
Few people of course know the terrain around Leeds better than Alistair, and he provided a top-level take on the course for this year’s event – along with some tips for competitors of all ages and abilities.
“It’s a unique course this year in Leeds, and obviously slightly different to how it ran round last year. Great swim, really flat water – just really good for swimming.
“Transition, especially T1, can be really important on this course. There’s a bit of a run to it and then you’re straight up a hill and this year the steeper way up the hill.
“Round the rest of the bike, look after yourself, there’s some technical bits – be sensible and don’t ride faster than you’re comfortable riding into some of the corners and the narrow sections.
“The run, over a sprint distance everybody is running as fast as they can so sorry – I don’t have a lot of advice for that!”
Mixed Relay ‘fantastic’
Mixed Relay also gets a spot on the schedule this weekend – it will dominate Sunday while the individual races take place on Saturday. It’s a format Brownlee just loves.
“I think the Mixed Relay format is absolutely fantastic. It’s fantastic for the athletes racing it, it’s loads of fun, really tactical, really fast. It’s fantastic for fans watching it and I think it’s fantastic for the sport.”