Brownlee highlights Mooloolaba World Cup field

Two-time Olympic gold medalist will use the upcoming ITU Mooloolaba World Cup as a tune up as he looks to defend his Commonwealth Games title.

| February 28, 2018 | NEWS

Alistair Brownlee wins the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Dubai triathlon.

Alistair Brownlee wins the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Dubai triathlon.

Photo >Getty Images for Ironman

This weekend we'll be watching closely as the world's top short course athletes get the ITU World Triathlon Series off and rolling in Abu Dhabi, but the following weekend's ITU Mooloolaba World Cup event promises to enjoy lots of attention, too. Alistair Brownlee, who has pulled out of this weekend's race in Abu Dhabi because of a strained calf. plans to return to short course racing in Mooloolaba has he prepares for his upcoming Commonwealth Games defense.

The British two-time Olympic champ will be changing speeds back to the sprint distance after his impressive win at Ironman 70.3 Dubai earlier this month, taking the first leg of the Triple Crown and opening the door for a million-dollar payoff if he can follow up with wins at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and Ironman 70.3 Bahrain. Brownlee made his half-distance debut last year with wins at Challenge Gran Canaria and Ironman 70.3 St. George and followed that up with a big win at WTS Leeds in June. After that, though, he was sidelined with a hip injury that required surgery, ending his 2017 season.

Brownlee came back to racing with a bang thanks to his big win in Dubai and now turns his sights on that Commonwealth title. As opposed to the 2014 Commonwealth Games triathlon held in Glasgow, which was over the standard distance, the Gold Coast games will be contested over the sprint distance. The Mooloolaba World Cup will also be a sprint-distance race.

Brownlee will certainly have some tough competition at both his upcoming Australian events. Olympians Richard Murray (RSA), along with Australian Olympians Aaron Royle, Ryan Baillie and Ryan Fisher will be in the race, as will Aussie Commonwealth team members Luke Willian and Matt Hauser.

On the women's side of things Charlotte McShane will likely be seen as the favorite, taking on a tough contingent of Australian women including Emma Jeffocoat (who is fresh off a win at the recent Gold Coast Triathlon) and Natalie van Coevorden. 2008 Olympic silver medalist continues her return to short course racing with an appearance in Mooloolaba, too.