Another win for Gomez?
In the last 3 editions, Gomez never lost that race. In 2012 and 2014 Jo Brownlee finished second.
The race that showed Mola’s potential?
In 2013, Mario Mola was Gomez’s major competitor. After his first podium in WTS, Mola was considered one of the favourite for the victory. After that race, the tactics were to make sure that Mola was not in the first pack in the swim and the bike. It is the same case for Richard Murray (not racing Auckland), who ‘s always a threat on the run if he’s able to make the first pack.
Alistair Brownlee’s malediction?
The Olympic champion never raced in Auckland. It is however a race that suits him well because he could make the difference on the bike by simply riding well on the technical sections without even. We could expect to see a few triathletes getting dropped from the pack in the two technical downhills.
The mental edge?
Even though this race is just another race on the WRS circuit, it would be really important to determine the hierarchy between Gomez, Jo Brownlee, Mola and even Silva (POR). It is the only occasion to see these triathletes compete on a hilly course. It is a preparation for Rio. The winner of that would thus have a huge mental edge on the others. Even though the others may say that it is still to0 early in the season, it woud still create some doubts in their capacity on wiling in Rio.
Another start to the season?
Even though Abu Dhabi was the start of the season, more than 30 athletes will start the season this weekend. A lot of European decided to not change their time zone. The athletes competing this weekend were based in Australia this winter (Wollongong Wizard, Mossy’s group, the D squad). There are still some exceptions: Gomez’s squad and Filliol’s squad.
A tactic to beat Mola? The group of 8?
Abu Dhabi was an open race due to the flat bike course and the 750 m swim that doesn’t allow making a difference. There’s no doubt that the group of 8 must form again this weekend. Mola was really impressive at Abu Dhabi. It’s hard to believe that anyone can beat him in a 5km. However, will he be as strong in a 10 km? He was able to win a few Sprint distance triathlons in 2014 but it is different in an Olympic distance, especially when Alistair is present. The real question is who will be able to take Alistair’s place and make sure that Mola is not in a position to win. Is Gomez the Man?
A really important race for Jo Brownlee.
With 2 races without finishing in the top 3, Jonathan, who is known to be anxious, has certainly some doubts. His last victory without his brother was more than 2 years ago. He showed last in Abu Dhabi some difficulty in the swim.
A difficult swim?
It is hard to say. Even if some uber swimmer such as Varga (SLK) and Schoeman (AFS), Kanute (USA) will be there, Zafares (USA), Raphael (FR) and Alessandro Fabian (ITA) won’t be there. Runners such as Pierre Le Corre (FR) or Alexander Bruykhankov (RUS) or even Marten Van Riel (BEL) may take their place. It may be a good opportunity for triathletes who are close to the Groupe of 8, such as Alarza (ESP), Hernandez (ESP), Royle (AUS) and Silva (POR) to be part of this group.
Could Jo Brownlee miss the group for a second time?
The return of the domestics?
Philip Graves (GBR) will be back in the WTS circuit. He is considered as one of the best ubber-biker in Ironman. He will race this weekend because he hopes to help the Brownlees in Rio. The goal is to offer to the Brownlee someone that could really make a difference on the bike. However, Graves must show that he can exit the water among the first group because if he brings back the second group to the first group, his role would be counter productive.
The impact of the weather
There is a big probability of rain this weekend, which could make the race unpredictable. As a bike mechanic told us, the triathletes that did not bring tires for the rain have a negligent coach… (censured version). With wet conditions, triathletes with a lack of technical abilities would be even more in trouble.
Blummenfelt; the new Davison?
Davison was so strong that he managed to bike alone to return to the lead pack. Everything seems to indicate that the Norwegian Blummenfelt will be able to do the same. It could be the best gift in the future for Mario Mola. However, this might be a disadvantage to the Brownlees. Since the norvegian is training with them now.
Only the great cyclists will be able to run well the difficult bike course. In theory, triathletes who are not great cyclists were smart enough to decide to not race this weekend.
The First timers…
Jake Birtwhistle, the new Aussie star will race in his first WTS. Knowing that he hopes to compete in Rio, he must show his potential. The French Simon Viain will also race in his first WTS. He is a great cyclist and had success on this course as a junior. It would be also Mike Lori’s (CAN) first WTS. If he told us that he would race in a WTS in 6 months, we would have called him a dreamer. However, he was really impressive in the beginning of the season. It will also be Pierre Le Corre’s comeback. After a difficult 2014 season, we wish to see him at his best. That race will be really important for him.
Here’s the race course’s description from Laurent Vidal
The swim consists of two laps in a port. There may be some waves but it won’t be a bif factor, contrary to the way the triathletes go aroung the buoys. The weather would be a huge factor for the bike course. There’s an out and back next to the sea and 3 uphills and downhills and also 3 turn-arounds. They will do that 8 times.
It is a course for « strong » triathetes, both physically and technically. The run course is similar to the bike course and it will take its toll on the triathletes.
We expect a big show due to the difficult course but as always, only the athletes can decide how the race will onfold.
The race will be Saturday at 23:41 for the East of Canada and Sunday at 5:41 in France.