WTCS Yokohama: the French ready to start in style

Photo : World Triathlon

The international triathlon season will finally be able to start. After an appetizer consisting of a few European cups, the serious things will begin with the opening this Saturday of the WTCS circuit. Yokohama will have the honor of hosting the inaugural event.

First world meeting of the year 2022, the Japanese stage is however only the 3rd stage of the world championship series. Due to the health crisis, two rounds (Abu Dhabi and Hamburg) have already taken place at the end of last year.

The main stars of the circuit having deserted these events, the provisional ranking is a bit off the beaten track, both for women and men.

The particularity of this round is that it is one of the rare events in the Olympic format in 2022. It is a selection support and will allow direct access to the grand final and the European Championship in Munich. She has already succeeded a lot with the French. Hopefully it will be the same this weekend.

With 10 athletes involved, including all of its best representatives, the tricolor delegation will be present in force in the land of the rising sun. The National Technical Department has set them two objectives for the start of the season:

– progress by confronting the international gratin to assess the results of the work carried out during the winter and the path still to be covered.

– register in the international hierarchy and contribute from the opening of the Olympic ranking to obtaining French quotas for the Paris Olympics

Confidence is essential in the French camp at the start of this new season. “The troops are generally in good shape. We must then see in the confrontation. What is certain is that they are happy to return to competitions”, confirms national coach Stéphanie Gros.

COURSE FEMININE

There will most certainly be a new leader on the women’s side after this 3rd stage. The American Summer Rappaport who leads the dance will indeed be conspicuous by her absence.

Respectively 2nd and 3rd in the provisional ranking, the German Laura Lindemann and the Bermudian Flora Duffy intend to take advantage of it. The second named is none other than the Tokyo Olympic champion. She also has three world titles to her name. Another world champion will appear on the starting line, Georgia Taylor Brown. Currently 4th in the standings, the Briton who won the prize in 2020, has another claim to fame a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The other athletes likely to join the fight for victory are the Americans Taylor Knibb (current vice-world champion and winner of this same race last year) and Taylor Spivey (3rd in the 2021 series).

On the French side, the two leaders will once again be the two Tokyo Olympics bronze medalists in the mixed relay, Léonie Périault and Cassandre Beaugrand, authors of a very good second half of the season last year.

Fifth individually in Tokyo, Léonie then followed with two excellent performances: 5th in the WTCS in Montreal and above all 2nd in the WTCS series final in Edmonton.

As she did not participate in the first two rounds, the Pisciacaise does not yet appear in the classification of the 2022 series.

For his part, Cassandre, who finished 6th in Abu Dhabi, is in 12th place in the provisional ranking. Her fine successes at the European Cup in Melilla and the Arena Games in London prove that she is already in advanced form.

Three other French women will be there this Saturday.

Excellent 13th in Abu Dhabi for her first experience on the WTCS circuit, Léa Coninx will try to continue her apprenticeship at the highest level in a good way.

U23 World Champion last August in Edmonton, Emma Lombardi will experience her baptism of fire this weekend on the flagship World Triathlon circuit.

More experienced, Audrey Merle, who obtained a good 12th place in Edmonton last year, is already in good shape as evidenced by her 5th place at the recent Arena Games in London.

COURSE MASCULINE

Among the men too, the field will be very high despite the absence of the reigning Olympic and world champion, Kristian Blummenfelt, resting after his brilliant victory at the Ironman World Championship last weekend. Only two other tenors will be missing: the Belgian Jelle Geens (5th in the provisional ranking) and the Briton Jonathan Brownlee (5th in the Tokyo Olympics).

The current leader of the competition, the surprising Spaniard Antonio Serrat Seoane, will be there to try to keep his provisional yellow jersey.

He will face him the three competitors who follow him in the classification the German Tim Hellwig, the French Léo Bergère (excellent 4th in the final classification last year) and another German Lasse Nygaard Priester.

Absent during the first two competitions, the tenors of the world circuit intend to upset this hierarchy as quickly as possible.

Author of an idyllic year 2022 (Olympic silver medalist, 3rd place in the final ranking of the world series), Alex Yee will probably be classified as a favorite by the bookmakers. The young Brit will have as main rivals the New Zealander Hayden Wilde (bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics) and the Belgian Marten Van Riel (vice-world champion and 4th in the Olympics).

Without forgetting our French bronze medalists in the mixed relay at the Tokyo Olympics, Vincent Luis (double world champion in 2019 and 2020, 6th in the world series last year) and Dorian Coninx (7th in the world series last year passed with particular success in Edmonton).

Not very present last year, Pierre Le Corre intends for his part to show that he remains competitive. His 3rd place at the Ironman 70.3 in Dubai last March for his first experience over the distance seems to prove that the form is already there.

Ninth in the last world championships, Valentin Morlec will try to confirm his excellent debut on the circuit last year (16th in Abu Dhabi).

PROGRAMME

Saturday May 14

3:16 a.m. (10:16 a.m. local time): Women’s race

6:06 a.m. (1:06 p.m. local time): Men’s race

You will find the rules of the game of the competition as well as many statistics by clicking on this link:

https://www.fftri.com/actualite/presentation-du-circuit-wtcs-2022/