WTS Hamburg preview

With over 10,000 participants and a stacked field, there's lots to look forward to this weekend at the World Triathlon Hamburg.

| July 13, 2017 | NEWS

Can Flora Duffy make it three in a row after winning in Yokohama and Leeds?

Can Flora Duffy make it three in a row after winning in Yokohama and Leeds?

Photo >ITU | Janos Schmidt

With over 10,000 participants this weekend’s World Triathlon Hamburg isn’t just one of the most popular races in the world, it’s a full fledged celebration of the sport, featuring a huge age group field, two stacked elite sprint-distance races and then, as the ultimate grand finale, the World Team Mixed Relay Championship. 

The weekend begins with the age group sprint race on Saturday morning that will see roughly 5,000 athletes take part in the 500 m swim/ 20 km bike/ 5 km run followed by the elites who will race in the afternoon. Sunday morning features the Olympic distance age group race followed by the Mixed Relay championship in the .

2016 ITU world champions Mario Mola (ESP) and Flora Duffy (BER) are both on hand as they try to defend their world titles. Mola won here a year ago, but arrives in Hamburg trailing countryman Fernando Alarza in the 2017 WTS rankings. Rounding out the Spanish speedsters is Javier Gomez, who took his first Hamburg title in 2006 and won here again in 2010.

It's not like Mola will only have his countrymen to contend with this weekend, either. Richard Murray (RSA) took Leeds off after his fifth place finish at the Challenge Championship the week before and returns to the WTS no-doubt ready to rip up the field. Jonathan Brownlee took second to his brother, Alistair, in Leeds and will certainly be one to watch, too. 

You can check out the full men's start list here.

Duffy has won her two WTS appearances so far this year in Yokohama and Leeds and takes on the only other woman to have won a WTS event in 2017 this year, Andrea Hewitt (NZL). At today's press conference she acknowledged that as the world champion she's under more pressure to perform, but says she does her best to look at it as a positive component to racing.

"It's a privilege to be up here," she said of being part of the press conference.

Duffy also talked about how her determination to work on her running led to the injury that put her out of the first two races of the WTS season, but that she looks at the process of improving the third leg of the race as "a long term process towards the big goal, which is Tokyo."

First things first, though, Duffy will take on a competitive field that, in addition to Hewitt, includes WTS series leader Kirsten Kasper (USA) and her countrywoman Katie Zaferes, the defending champion. There are lots more women who can certainly contend for the title. One who will have a lot of eyes on her is Germany's own Laura Lindemann, who won the U23 world title last year in Cozumel in addition to representing her country at the Olympics.

Here's the complete women's start list.

Sunday’s mixed relay promises to be very exciting. With the recent announcement that the mixed relay will now be part of the Olympic program, this weekend’s championship adds some new drama and anticipation to the event, which will feature 21 teams. Last year’s race was won by the USA with Australia and Germany in a dead heat for second and third – look for this year’s race to top even that on the excitement scale.