Canadians Joanna Brown and Matthew Sharpe are each looking to build on early season success at this weekend’s WTS Gold Coast in Australia, the second stop on this year’s ITU World Triathlon Series circuit and the first sprint-distance.
Building on her early season success with the win at the Sarasota CAMTRI cup and second place at last weekend’s New Plymouth world cup (a career best result), Brown toes the start line in Australia in top form, ready to go head to head with the world’s best.
Andrea Hewitt, who turned heads last month at WTS Abu Dhabi when she took the win for the first time since 2011, headlines the women’s field in Gold Coast. She’s up against the woman she out-sprinted in Abu Dhabi, Jodie Stimpson, who comes into this year with a vengeance after missing out on a shot to represent the UK at Rio last summer. Stimpson put together one of the most impressive races last month as she single-handedly merged the chase pack with the leaders thanks to her super-strong cycling abilities, so it will be exciting what she can do on the short and sweet Gold Coast course.
New Plymouth winner Katie Zaferes leads a strong contingent of American women — Summer Cook, Kirsten Kasper and Sarah True — who we expect to see at least a few of in the top five.
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Another hometown favourite in the women’s field is Gwen Jorgensen’s Wollongong Wizards training partner, Charlotte McShane, who impressed with a third place at the ITU Grand Final in Cozumel last summer.
Sharpe had an unfortunate DNF at last weekend’s world cup race after a small injury, but prior to that had a podium finish at the Sarasota CAMTRI cup and 11th at Gold Coast world cup. He’ll be taking on several big names this weekend in the men’s field and hopes to deliver another strong result.
After his win at WTS Abu Dhabi and Ironman 70.3 Dubai earlier this year, Spanish star Javier Gomez headlines the stacked men’s field which also includes his countrymen and Rio teammates Fernando Alarza and world champion Mario Mola. He’s up against Richard Murray who is also having a winning streak so far this year with top results at Cape Town and New Plymouth world cups as well as the inuagural Super League Triathlon. Murray is known to be strongest at the sprint distance so he’s definitely a top contender in tomorrow’s race.
There’s also a crew of strong up-and-comers on the start list for tomorrow, many of whom raced alongside Gomez and Murray at the first round of the Super League Triathlon recently. Look out for South Africa’s Henri Schoeman, Switzerland’s Andrea Salvisberg, Portugal’s Joao Silva and Mexico’s Cristano Grajales this weekend and at the rest of the WTS races this year.