Commonwealth Games preview

Alistair Brownlee is on hand to try and defend his Commonwealth Games title, while Flora Duffy will be the woman to beat in the women's race.

| April 4, 2018 | NEWS

Can Alistair Brownlee, seen here winning WTS Leeds last year, defend his title at the Commonwealth Games?

Can Alistair Brownlee, seen here winning WTS Leeds last year, defend his title at the Commonwealth Games?

Photo >ITU | Janos Schmidt

Alistair Brownlee led the British team into the stadium as the country's flag bearer and will aim to defend his title at tomorrow's triathlon event at the Commonwealth Games at Australia's Gold Coast. For the women, Flora Duffy is after her first major games medal in the first of three events she'll be competing in for Bermuda.

Duffy's busy week

Flora Duffy has been the woman to beat at WTS racing for the last year and a half, taking the overall WTS title in 2016 thanks to a big Grand Final win before following that up with an amazing 2017 season that saw her win all but one of her WTS appearances. In addition to her race in the individual triathlon tomorrow, she'll also represent Bermuda in the mixed relay on Saturday and in the mountain bike race, too.

The only woman to beat Duffy in 2017, Australian Ashleigh Gentle, is possibly her biggest rival at the Games and will enjoy the monstrous support of the home-country crowd. New Zealand's Andrea Hewitt is another to watch - she won the bronze medal at the 2006 Games and finished fourth in Glasgow in 2014. There's a strong British contingent on the women's side, too, including Jess Learmonth, Vicky Holland and Sophie Coldwell. Those three are likely to try and break away from the gun, which could play into Duffy's favor. Add Non Stanford to that list, too, as the GB athlete will be competing for Wales. Canadian Joanna Brown could also be a factor if she can stay in the hunt after the swim.

Brownlee brothers

After a one-two match up at the Rio Olympics in 2016, the last time Alistair and Jonathan competed together was at last year's WTS Leeds, where they finished ... yep, one-two. The two are a scary one-two combination when they do get to race together and tomorrow will be no exception.

The question is whether or not Alistair will be as sharp as usual over the sprint-distance course as he's moved his focus to longer-distance racing over the last year. The two will be taking on some stiff competition. South Africa's Henri Schoeman was third at the Olympics and won WTS Abu Dhabi earlier this year, while his countryman Richard Murray is always a fearsome competitor and will certainly be a threat if he's in the mix on the run. The highly-motivated Australian contingent of Jacob Birthwhistle, Luke Willian and Matthew Hauser will be ones to watch, along with New Zealand's Ryan Sissons and Canadians Tyler Mislawchuk and Matthew Sharp.