Brownlee brothers head stacked field at Beijing International

This weekend's Beijing International Triathlon will feature a number of short-distance stars competing in a non-drafting race and vying for a piece of the $100,000 prize purse.

| September 20, 2018 | NEWS

Jonathan Brownlee (middle) and Kristian Blummenfelt (right) are two of the favorites set to compete at the Beijing International Triathlon this weekend.

Jonathan Brownlee (middle) and Kristian Blummenfelt (right) are two of the favorites set to compete at the Beijing International Triathlon this weekend.

Photo >ITU Media / Petko Beier

Although this year's World Triathlon Series is over, many of the world's best short distance athletes are not yet calling it a season. While some will still compete in World Cup races, others will compete in events like the prestigious Beijing International Triathlon in China or at the Super League event in Jersey. In Beijing the pros will compete over the classic Olympic distance, but the 40 km bike is non-drafting, so many of the short-distance specialists will exchange their racing bikes for time trial machines.

A lot of the excitement in the men's race will come from Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, the gold and silver medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympics. Alistair is fresh off a runner-up finish at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, thanks to his impressive string of half-distance races this season, seems to be mastering the non-draft format of late. The Brownlees will take on the other man who joined them on the podium in Rio, Henri Schoeman, who won the race last year. However, Schoeman has been dealing with an injury, so there is a small question about his form.

Then there is the 24-year-old Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt, who took second at three WTS races this year and finished the World Championship Series in fifth overall. Due to his enormous bike and run strength, Blummenfelt could be considered the favorite for the win. Ben Kanute, who finished fourth at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in South Africa, should also have a good chance, thanks to his strong swim and bike legs. The favorites also include Eric Lagerstrom, who recently won Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz, Cameron Dye, Ben Shaw, Jarrod Shoemaker and Mark Buckingham.

Can Gentle make it two in a row?

The women's race also promises to be very strong. Fresh off a big home-country win at the Grand Final on Australia's Gold Coast Ashleigh Gentle is riding a positive high as she heads into Beijing. Gentle is likely to be the fastest runner in the field and is also a strong cyclist. Last year's champion, Canada's Paula Findlay, is very strong on the bike and has been focused on 70.3 racing this season, so she'll be one to watch, as well. The women's race is full of strong contenders, though, including: Non Stanford (GBR), Radka Vodickova (CZE), Andrea Hewitt (NZL), Barbara Riveros (CHI), Lucy Hall (GBR) and Lisa Norden (SWE).