The WTS race season is coming to an end this weekend on the Gold Coast with the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final. Mario Mola (ESP) and Katie Zaferes (USA) are the current WTS world leaders at this stage of the season. For Mola, it looks as though if he races smart, he’ll capture his second consecutive world title. In the women’s race, it’s much closer. Heading into the final race of the season Zaferes has a small 34-point lead over Vicky Holland (GBR).
Then there are a bunch of other storylines heading into the weekend. Here are the ten things you need to know before this weekend’s Grand Final.
- The race will be broadcasted on CBC Sports online. That means you can watch the world’s best for free. Coverage begins on Saturday at 9 AM ET with the women’s race and 9 AM ET on Sunday with the men’s race.
- Canadian Tyler Mislawchuk is ranked eighth in the world. This season Mislawchuk has been battling with the best in the world for a top-10 ranking. Earlier this year, he finished fourth at WTS Yokohama and reached his first World Cup podium in Antwerp, Belgium. In his last race, WTS Montreal, Mislawchuk finished eighth.
- Canadian Joanna Brown is coming off of a career-best finish in on the WTS with fourth place in Montreal. Brown has had an up and down season so far. She began her year with a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia. However, since then Brown has struggled for some consistency in her results. If history repeats itself, Brown is expected to do well this weekend. Last year she came fourth in Montreal, and then came fifth at the Grand Final in Rotterdam.
- Mola may be an Olympic calibre 10K runner in disguise. When it comes to a footrace, you don’t want to be going up against Mola. This year, he’s come off the bike a ran a sub-15 minute 5K and a sub-30 minute 10K. For some context, the world 10,000m track record is 26:17. Mola runs 3 minutes off the mark after biking 40K and doing it on the road.
- Zaferes will be the woman to beat this weekend. The pressure will be on though. With just a 34-point lead over Holland, will the two participate in a tactical battle for the world title? Will there be any team tactics this weekend?
- Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) has the most devastating finishing kick on the WTS circuit. It seems as though at every race this season, Birtwhistle has done something in the last kilometre that leaves us all speechless. Where he finds the extra push, we don’t know, but the Australian will be someone to watch if close in the final kilometres.
- Great Britain’s women team is deep in talent. If it comes down to team tactics and who gets the world title, Holland has team women that can compete with the best. Teammate Georgia Taylor-Brown is third in the world rankings behind Holland, and Jessica Learmonth is fourth.
- The Norwegian men’s team is full of powerfully cyclist. In Montreal, a breakaway formed thanks to the work of the Norwegians Kristian Blummenfelt and Casper Stornes.
- Can Alistair Brownlee recover in time from 70.3 Worlds to keep pace with his brother (Johnny Brownlee) and the rest of the world’s best short course triathletes? Two weeks ago, the older Brownlee returned to racing at the 70.3 World Championship in South Africa and showed no signs of rust finishing second behind Jan Frodeno.
- Earlier this year, the Gold Coast hosted the Commonwealth Games in April. Henri Schoeman and Flora Duffy won the race. Though Schoeman will be racing this weekend, Duffy has missed much of the WTS season due to a foot injury and isn’t on the start list for Saturday.