This week marks the first race in the ITU (International Triathlon Union) WTS (World Triathlon Series). This is a race series with 9 different races around the world, over both sprint and Olympic distances. This series is designed to pit the best short course athletes on the planet against each other, and produces some of the most entertaining race coverage any tri geek could ask for.
These races are freaky fast, with many of the lead athletes finishing their 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km runs in times that I can only ask for in half the distance. These races are also used as the qualifiers for the Olympic games, which will take place in Rio this summer on August 18th (men) and 20th (women).
On the men’s side, watch for Vincent Luis as he tries to move out of that ‘bridesmaid’ spot on the podium (3rd) and at least claim ‘maid of honor’ credentials (2nd). Who knows – he might even finally get a big day of his own! Luis will be chasing down Mario Mola, who can outrun about any other living thing in the world, and 2015 WTS champion Javier Gomez Noya. Gomez is a safe bet in any race he enters, and is the particular eye candy that gives my wife an excuse to watch these races with me. And don’t forget the Brownlees – they’re still a thing! If they can stay healthy, we’ll see a very interesting mix in the WTS podium this year.
In the women’s races you cannot help but see greatness! Gwen Jorgensen is trying to prove that some people are unbeatable. Gwen leads the American women’s stable that also includes 2015 WTS #3 Sarah True, #5 Katie Zaferes, #16 Kristen Kasper, and #22 Renee Tomlin (all of whom would be a #1 Olympian in many other countries). Not only do we have amazing racing from this American team, but we have Andrea Hewitt, Vicky Holland, Rachel Klamer, Flora Duffy and Non Stanford, who on any given day stand the chance of playing spoiler to Gwen or anyone else who challenges them. The women’s racing is truly spectacular to watch.
SO, how do you watch an ITU race? Do you have to fly there or watch what appears to be the digital equivalent to those early 80’s handheld football games? No way! www.triathlonlive.tv is a subscription-based site that allows you to catch all the races live or stream them later (for the races that happen at 3am your local time). Not only can you watch these races live, but you can also keep up with the action over at fantasytriathlon.com and catch their analysis of each race before it happens and the competition while it’s live.
So get ready for Abu Dhabi, Gold Coast, Cape Town, Yokohama, Leeds, Stockholm, Hamburg, Edmonton and Cozumel and the ITU races. Catch the Rio Olympics that will feature those who you’ve been getting to see race in what is likely to be the most exciting race of the year. Take the time to invest in a part of our sport that is investing in the future generations of racers we’ll need to keep this sport great!
Get your geeky tri self out there and catch some racing that doesn’t need filler to make 90 minutes exciting.