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WTCS Yokohama 2024: Start time, preview and how to watch live for key Olympic qualifier

WTCS Yokohama could decide the future for a number of top short course stars this weekend, as the first WTCS event of the year offers a number of athletes the chance to qualify for the Paris Olympic Games this summer.

Staff Reporter
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This is a preview for WTCS Yokohama, which was won by Morgan Pearson of the USA and French star Leonie Periault.

After the first race of the WTCS season in Abu Dhabi was cancelled two months ago, the iconic WTCS Yokohama will act as the season opener for the top tier of events, with Olympic qualification on the line in Japan this weekend.

The showdown, which takes place in Yamashita Park, will see the best short course athletes in the world compete over the Olympic distance, with all the action taking place on Saturday May 11.

In our preview piece below, you can find all the information you need on start times, how to watch live and a rundown of the athletes to keep an eye out for on race day.

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Start time and how to watch live

The women will race first in Yokohama, with the gun going off at 10:15 local time. This corresponds to 02:15 in the UK, 21:15 on the East Coast and 18:15 on the West Coast, on Friday May 10.

For the men, the race will begin at 13:00 local time. This corresponds to 05:00 in the UK, 00:00 on the East Coast and 21:00 on the West Coast on Friday.

All the action will be available to watch live via Triathlonlive.tv

Elite Women

The biggest story on the women’s side in Yokohama is the battle between the US women for a spot on the Olympic Team alongside Taylor Knibb, who secured her slot last season at the Paris Olympic Test Event.

Lining up on Saturday, 2016 Olympic Champion Gwen Jorgensen, plus Taylor Spivey, Summer Rappaport and Kirsten Kasper will all hope to land a spot on the podium to secure qualification for the biggest race of the year.

Coming into the race, Knibb and Jorgensen look to be true contenders for the podium, with Spivey also capable of finishing in the top three if the race dynamics unfold in her favour.

World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki 2023 Gwen Jorgensen
Photo Credit: World Triathlon

From elsewhere, top ranked athlete Emma Lombardi of France cannot be ignored, and will be the odds-on favourite, with British rising star Kate Waugh and German veteran Laura Lindemann two other podium contenders who cannot be ruled out.

In a run showdown, where Jorgensen would hope to come into her own, Mexican Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal, who has finished on the podium here before, plus Swedish speedster Tilda Mansson, look to be her biggest threats.

If there is a breakaway, Knibb, Spivey and possibly Rappaport will back themselves to make the group, with reigning Olympic Champion Flora Duffy, racing for the first time in almost two years, a major player in this type of race.

After Jorgensen, triathlon fans will be most interested in the fate of Duffy, with British athlete and Rio Olympic bronze medalist Vicky Holland, racing her first WTCS since pregnancy, another fan favourite who will draw a lot of attention.

The full women’s start list can be found here.

Elite Men

On the men’s side, the implications for the American team are the same, but the Stars and Stripes squad in this race look less likely of featuring at the pointy end and will cause a major shock if one of them bar Pearson finds themselves on the podium.

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).

Instead, look towards Britain’s Hugo Milner, in his debut WTCS, for some drama, as the Derby man looks to force his way on to the Paris Olympic team after a breakout year in 2023.

Racing alongside Jonny Brownlee, Milner has a golden opportunity to demonstrate his talents to selectors and underline why he should be given a chance alongside Alex Yee in the French capital.

World Champion Dorian Coninx, who has already met one of the criteria set out by the French federation for Paris, also has a lot riding on this race, with a Top 6 guaranteeing him a spot at the Games. Alongside him, teammates Leo Bergere and Vincent Luis will also be looking to show their worth.

From Norway, reigning Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt will get to measure himself against some top competitors for the first time in 2024. The Bergen native, who raced long course in the period between Tokyo and Paris, is reported to be in great shape coming into this race.

Finally, although he is already qualified for Paris, Morgan Pearson will aim to cement his standing as a gold medal contender in Paris with a strong race in Yokohama. Whilst his teammates Matthew McElroy, Seth Rider, Darr Smith and Kevin McDowell will have their sights set on a podium and qualification, only a win will suffice for the upfront American.

The full men’s start list can be found here.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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