World Triathlon Leeds to see new champions this year
Alistair Brownlee, Flora Duffy both missing with injury
Sunday’s AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds will see new winners, with Alistair Brownlee (champion in 2016 and 2017), and Flora Duffy (winner in 2017, second in 2016), both having withdrawn with injury.
It is a huge week for the sport in the UK, with a major event double-header coming up in Nottingham (Thursday) and Leeds (Saturday / Sunday). Here is your preview.
Nottingham & Leeds Set for ITU World Triathlon Double This Week
Triathlon is set to take over this week with two ITU World Triathlon Series races taking place, both of which offer free live spectating opportunities and will feature live on the BBC. Thursday is the turn of Nottingham to host the Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay followed by Sunday’s individual races at the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds, featuring many of the best triathletes in the world.
This Thursday 7 June, the world’s leading triathlon nations take to the River Trent to start the first Mixed Relay in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification window. Great Britain has a very strong team, featuring two Olympic medal winners, Jonathan Brownlee and Vicky Holland along with former ITU world champion Non Stanford and ITU World Triathlon Series podium finisher, Tom Bishop.
The start list features 19 teams, including all of the strongest triathlon nations in the world. As well as national pride, there are ranking points on offer towards Olympic qualification as Mixed Relay makes its debut in Tokyo.
The Mixed relay is set to start at 6:36pm and the action will unfold rapidly with the whole event taking not much more than a very action-packed hour. Grandstand tickets are still available.
Unfortunately I’ve had to pull out of @WorldTriLeeds next weekend. I’ve had a few niggles and won’t be able to compete to the best of my ability. I’ll be cheering hard on the sidelines
— Alistair Brownlee (@AliBrownleetri) June 4, 2018
Athletes then move to on to Leeds for the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds on Sunday. Both defending champions, Alistair Brownlee and Flora Duffy have withdrawn though injury, so new champions will be crowned, and Jonathan Brownlee hopes that he may be in with a chance.
He commented: “They’re two very big events coming up and I’m looking forward to both of them. Obviously, the mixed team relays are exciting, it’s the start of the Olympic qualification for Tokyo and we want to try win that one.”
He added: “And then in Leeds, it’s super important for me, it’s my home town event and I can’t wait to race there again. I would like to think I’ve got in reasonable enough shape to be competitive and hopefully I can go there and race tactically well and try and win.”
Britain’s women have demonstrated fine form this season with Non Stanford and Vicky Holland both having made Series podiums this season already, and Jess Learmonth having finished second to Duffy at the Commonwealth Games. Without Duffy, the dynamic may change this year, and with home advantage and having raced on this course twice previously, there is every opportunity for Britain’s leading women to shine.
It is not all gold medals and champagne showers.
Sadly, I will not be racing @worldtriathlon Leeds. #WTSLEEDS pic.twitter.com/K1aeW2xhIF
— Flora Duffy (@floraduffy) June 5, 2018
Learmonth said: “I think we all know Leeds is a tough, technical course and I hope that rewards the crowds with an exciting race as the support here on home-soil has always been incredible and gives us a lift throughout.”
Andy Salmon, Chief Executive of British Triathlon added: “The start lists for the Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay Nottingham and the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds are some of the most exciting we have seen here in the UK since London 2012. It’s going to be a fantastic platform for our sport and I hope we can inspire even more people to take up triathlon after watching the achievements of both amateur and elite participants alike.”
Accenture World Triathlon Mixed Relay Nottingham; Thursday 7 June 18:36
AJ Bell World Triathlon; Sunday 10 June; Women’s Race 13.06, Men’s race 15:51; 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run:
British Athletes racing: Sophie Coldwell, Vicky Holland, Jess Learmonth, Non Stanford, Jodie Stimpson, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Marc Austin, Tom Bishop, Jonathan Brownlee, Grant Sheldon