This is a preview – click on the names to read about impressive wins for Sophie Coldwell and Hayden Wilde.
The World Triathlon Championship Series heads to Japan this weekend, with Yokohama hosting the second fixture of the 2023 WTCS calendar on Saturday May 13.
With over 10 weeks since the last race in Abu Dhabi and the absence of series leaders Alex Yee and Beth Potter, the door is open over the Olympic distance in Yokohama for new leaders to take the top spots in the WTCS rankings.
In our WTCS Yokohama preview, you’ll find the start times and streaming details for the men and women’s races, as well as a preview of both elite fields.
Start time, course and how to watch live
In what has become a staple fixture of the WTCS calendar, athletes will again head to the Port of Yokohama on Saturday May 13 to take on the first Olympic distance race of the season.
The elite women will begin at 10:16am local time (2:16am in the UK / 0316 CET), with the elite men racing just under three hours later at 1:06pm (5:06am in the UK / 0606 CET).
The race is the second of the 2023 WTCS season and will be held over the Olympic distance. Athletes will complete two laps of 750m for the 1500m swim in the Port of Yokohama, before heading out on the bike for nine laps of 4.45km. Finally, the athletes will finish with a 10km run consisting of four laps of 2.5km.
In Yokohama, both the bike and the run take in the beauty of Yamashita Park, with the bike course also passing monuments such as the Akarenga Soko and Kanagawa Prefectural Government Office.
The race will be broadcast live on the World Triathlon subscription service, TriathlonLive, and also available free for UK viewers via BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website, the BBC Sport App and the BBC Red Button.
WTCS Yokohama 2023 Elite Women
With WTCS Abu Dhabi winner Potter electing to skip the long flight out to Japan, fellow countrywoman Sophie Coldwell, who finished second in Abu Dhabi, will start as the number one seed.
Alongside her, fellow WTCS Abu Dhabi podium place finisher Taylor Spivey is also on the start list, with the American heading to Japan fresh off an altitude camp in Flagstaff and looking for another podium in Yokohama, where she finished third in 2019.
Two of the main threats to Spivey and Coldwell’s hopes for consecutive podiums in 2023 will come from familiar faces, as America’s Taylor Knibb and Britain’s Georgia Taylor-Brown look to kick-start their seasons.
Knibb, who last raced at the 2022 WTCS Grand Final in Abu Dhabi, is returning from a stress fracture, whilst Taylor-Brown, the 2022 WTCS runner-up, is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 15th last time round in the United Arab Emirates.
Other potential podium challenges may well come from Nicole Van Der Kaay, the Kiwi who is unbeaten so far in 2023, and Maya Kingma, the Dutch athlete who might just be the only woman with the ability to ride alongside Knibb.
With no Flora Duffy or Katie Zaferes, expect Knibb if she’s fit to take responsibility for driving the front of the race through the swim and the bike and trying to build a sizeable gap to the strong runners in the field, such as France’s Emma Lombardi and German trio of Lisa Tertsch, Nina Eim and Laura Lindemann.
If Coldwell, Kingma, Spivey and even Taylor-Brown can make it off the bike with Knibb, it will be an enthralling run race, but the American, who demonstrated her immense cycling prowess in her IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships win in 2022, can really demonstrate her Paris credentials with a strong comeback from injury here. She also has race-winning experience here from 2021.
WTCS Yokohama 2023 Elite Men
With Alex Yee missing, Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca will start as the number one seed, ahead of defending World Champion Leo Bergere and fellow Frenchman, Dorian Coninx.
With no Yee, WTCS Abu Dhabi third place finisher Manoel Messias or two-time world champion Vincent Luis, the top of the men’s start list looks a little sparse, but scroll further down and some big names start to appear.
Defending Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt, fresh off second at the PTO Tour European Open, will race his first WTCS of the season, alongside IRONMAN World Champion Gustav Iden and countryman Vetle Thorn, recent winner of the Quarteira European Cup.
The Norwegian trio, especially Blummenfelt, will relish the chance to go up against some of their main contenders in Paris, with 2022 WTCS Grand Final runner up Morgan Pearson, alongside Australian Matt Hauser and Kiwi Hayden Wilde all potential medal threats at next year’s games.
The French duo of Coninx and Bergere, plus countryman Tom Richard, will want to put on a strong showing over the Olympic distance, as will Vilaca and JFT crew training partners Bence Bicsak and Jelle Geens, but the focus will primarily rest on Blummenfelt, the winner here two years ago. How will he cope with the tough race (Ibiza), long-hauls travel, time difference and draft-legal format?
South African Henri Schoeman continues his comeback, with the Arena Games champion getting stronger and stronger with each race, as Belgium’s Marten Van Riel also makes a comeback after a long time on the sidelines.
Whilst there are some big names missing, most notably Yee, the field in Yokohama is filled with quality and while the winner may come from a select group of favourites, there are a number of athletes who could make their way from the periphery on to a WTCS podium.
For the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series, there is a difference between the points awarded for events held over the sprint distance and events held over the Olympic distance.
Winners of sprint distance events, such as WTCS Abu Dhabi, take home a maximum of 750 points, whilst the winner of an Olympic distance event, such as WTCS Yokohama, will take home a maximum of 1000 points.
For each position thereafter, sprint distance events will award 75% of the total points for the equivalent Olympic distance event result. For example, second place at WTCS Yokohama (Olympic) is worth 925 points, whilst second at WTCS Abu Dhabi (Sprint) is worth 693.75 points.
WTCS Prize Money
In terms of prize money, it is distributed equally across all WTCS events with the exception of the WTCS Grand Final. Throughout the season, regular WTCS events will pay out prize money all the way down to the 20th athlete.
At the end of the season, the WTCS Bonus Pool will also pay out bonus prize money to the Top 50 ranked athletes in the world, based on their performances at the WTCS Grand Final, WTCS and Continental Championships.