Leeds and Leaders: Heading into the World Triathlon Series
Participants in the United Kingdom leg of the World Triathlon Series will be hosted by a different city that's just as marvelous as London.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) officially announced that London will no longer host a round of the World Series this coming summer. The honor now goes to the city of Leeds, which will stage the global sports event on May 30 and 31.
A Brilliant Event
Leeds was proposed by the British Triathlon as the UK's host city candidate last April, following a campaign to host the event. The bid was led by the Leeds City Council, with support from Sport Leeds, Welcome to Yorkshire, and other key stakeholders.
"It's fantastic news that Leeds' bid has been successful," said Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee.
"I am sure the crowds will come out in force to see a major triathlon event in Leeds for the first time, and I'm sure it will be a brilliant event," added Brownlee.
Home Court Advantage
With the West Yorkshire city being chosen to take over hosting a British round of the World Triathlon Series, Alistair and his brother will be right at home. Alistair Brownlee is currently #9 in ITU's Columbia Threadneedle Rankings as of May 22, with Jonathan Brownlee claiming the 4th spot overall.
"To race at the highest level in the city where I grew up and have done all of my triathlon training is something that I'm already excited about," said Jonathan.
Other homegrown triathletes from Leeds in line to compete are Vicky Holland, who got her first World Series win in Cape Town last April 25-26, as well as former ITU world champion, Non Stanford.
The Leeds round of the elite men's and women's races will take place over the Olympic distance. Triathletes will start with a 1500m swim at Roundhay Park before jumping on their bikes for a 40km cycle into the city center and finish with a 10km run through the city.
The Leeds stage replaces the World Triathlon London, as London's Hyde Park is set to undergo improvements in 2016 to allow for the construction of a cycling 'super-highway' through the city.
Hosting the event will be a big boost to Leeds, as it puts it alongside major cities such as Abu Dhabi, Gold Coast, Cape Town, and Yokohama that have hosted the previous legs of the World Series races this year.
Current Rankings-Post World Triathlon Series: Yokohama
The previous round of the prestigious ITU World Triathlon Series was held in Yokohama, Japan.
In the men's race, Javier Gomez Noya of Spain came out on top after a thrilling sprint against Alistair Brownlee. Gomez Noya left it all down to the blue carpet in Yokohama to claim his first gold medal of the season in what was definitely one of the most exciting finishes in the series' history.
"I was probably running against the best runners in the sport in Mario and Alistair, I was feeling good and had something left, I tried with 2k to go and dropped Mario [Mola of Spain] but Alistair stayed and then surged. It reminded me a little of Cape Town but this time I kept up and it came to the last 200 meters and at that point anything can happen because we are both very tired and lucky I had a bit more than him and took the win which is great, the first one of the year," explained Gomez Noya.
"I have had good races in Cape Town, Gold Coast and Auckland. Being on the podium is great but winning is better," he continued.
For the Women's race, Gwen Jorgensen of the USA showed no signs of weakness as she crossed the finish line of the WTS Yokohama. Despite the rainy and cold weather, Jorgensen managed to cross the line with a lead of more than a minute.
This win extends Jorgensen's undefeated streak, giving her her ninth consecutive win and third-straight victory in Yokohama.
"I came here knowing this is the last 10k before the Rio test event so I really wanted to get a good 10k in and push myself and really go hard," said Jorgensen.
"The number one goal for this season is to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games, so I need to be top 8 at the Rio test event and first or second American, that is the thought top of mind," she continued.
Current Columbia Threadneedle Rankings as of May 22:
- Javier Gomez Noya-ESP-3507 points
- Mario Mola-ESP-2958 points
- Fernando Alarza-ESP-2685 points
- Jonathan Brownlee-GBR-2186 points
- Crisanto Grajales-MEX-2015 points
- Richard Murray-RSA-1904 points
- Pierre Le Corre-FRA-1728 points
- Ryan Bailie-AUS-1672 points
- Alistair Brownlee-GBR-1540 points
- Sven Riederer-SUI-1481 points
- Gwen Jorgensen-USA-3200 points
- Katie Zaferes-USA-2905 points
- Andrea Hewitt-NZL-2368 points
- Sarah True-USA-1947 points
- Emma Moffatt-AUS-1710 points
- Barbara Riveros-CHI-1599 points
- Aileen Reid-IRL-1445 points
- Vendula Frintova-CZE-1414 points
- Lindsey Jerdonek-USA-1387 points
- Flora Duffy-BER-1376 points