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Findlay set to defend Beijing title

Some of the world's best short and long course triathletes headline a fast and furious race weekend in Beijing

Paula Findlay on her way to winning the 2017 Beijing International Triathlon. Photo from @paula_findlay.

This weekend, some of the world’s best short course and long course racers will compete in the Beijing International Triathlon.

The 2017 champion Paula Findlay will be returning to defend her title. This year, Findlay has seen both the highs and lows of triathlon. She won her first professional 70.3 race at the challenging course in Saint George, Utah; then she took six weeks off from running after she discovered she had a stress fracture in her femur. Upon her return, she battled to a fourth at 70.3 Boulder and then earned a second place finish at 70.3 Santa Cruz. If it wasn’t for a mechanical on the bike, she might have won. Heading into Beijing, it looks as though Findlay has returned to form and will be ready to go, Sunday, September 30th.

Paula Findlay chases on the bike after a mechanical at 70.3 Santa Cruz. Photo via @paula_findlay and Justin Luau

She’ll be up against a competitive field that includes Ashleigh Gentle (AUS). Gentle recently won the World Triathlon Series (WTS) Grand Final on September 15th and will keep the pressure on Findlay over the Olympic distance triathlon. Don’t forget Non Stanford (GBR), who also raced the WTS Grand Final and finished 12th. Then there are the long course triathletes – Canadian Alicia Kaye, the Swede Lisa Norden, Aussie Claire Davis and Chilean Barbara Riveros.

On the men’s side, the Brownlee brothers will join forces and compete together in Beijing. Alistair recently came second to Jan Frodeno at the World 70.3 Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Jonathon, on the other hand, is coming off a long WTS season where he finished 11th in the world rankings. Fellow Brit, Mark Buckingham, will join them this weekend.

Alistair Brownlee on the podium at the 70.e World Championship. Photo Courtesy to IRONMAN race blog – Shawn Skene

South African Henri Schoeman, the 2018 Commonwealth champion, will also be in Beijing eyeing a win on the non-draft bike course. Then there are two contenders from America, Eric Lagerstrom and Ben Kanute. Lagerstrom has had an interesting year although hampered by injuries early on. Upon his return from injury, he won 70.3 Steelhead and then took the win against a stellar field at 70.3 Santa Cruz. Kanute has done it all this year, short and long course. This weekend he’ll look to take the win before heading off to Super League Triathlon Jersey next weekend.

You can’t talk Olympic non-draft triathlon racing without mentioning the American Cameron Dye? Dye is one of the most consistent Olympic distance triathletes on the non-draft circuit, in large part due to his impressive bike splits. In 2016, he set the Beijing 40K bike course record of 55:47.

All in all, the Beijing International Triathlon will be competitive and fast this weekend. Canadian Paula Findlay will be the one to watch this weekend as she defends her title.