The 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series reaches the eighth stop on the calendar, and this time it is the Swedish capital that will host this weekend the 2017 ITU World triathlon Stockholm, where athletes will compete in the penultimate race before the Grand Final. A field of 35 women will dive in the water of the Riddarfjärden in what will probably be an all-against-the-current-WTS-leader, Bermudian Flora Duffy.
She will be indeed the one to beat in the streets of the Royal city, wearing the golden swim cap reserved for the number one of the series, and knowing that no other athlete can take away that position form her, no matter what she does this weekend. The clear dominator of the season will be trying to get in Stockholm her fifth victory of the season, something only American Gwen Jorgensen has done before.
Flora’s dominant season has seen so far a record for the largest winning margins in both Standard distance (11 seconds, in WTS Yokohama), and Sprint distance (31 seconds in WTS Hamburg), so it looks like there’s little the rest of the athletes can do to kick her out of the leading position, but the Bermudian will have to prove herself strong and consistent to be able to win again in Stockholm.
One of her strongest rivals will be, Australian Ashleigh Gentle, who just comes back from an astonishing victory –the first of her extensive WTS career- in Montreal. But Gentle’s performance was not a one-day show, as she has been one of the most consistent athletes of the season, enough to get her at the moment the second place on the overall rankings.
Same scenario applies to American Katie Zaferes, one of the more consistent athletes of the season, and who has finished within the top four positions on most races this season. One of the strongest runners on the field, she will be in the fight for the podium in Stockholm, but also fighting to keep herself on the final podium of the season.
She will have to watch out for one of the ‘classic’ athletes of the circuit, kiwi Andrea Hewitt. With one of the best beginnings of the season of her career –winning WTS Abu Dhabi and WTS Gold Coast-, and a great come back in WTS Montreal to finish in third place, she will be one to look for, as usual when it comes to Olympic distance. And she will definitely will be trying to get on top three spots of the overall rankings of the series as well.
Stockholm will be also the perfect scenario for British Jodie Stimpson to come back to racing after an stress fracture that has kept her out of the circuit for three months, after a pretty successful beginning of the season. She will be accompanied in Stockholm by a quite strong pack of British women, including Jessica Learmonth, Lucy Hall and India Lee.
Among the other ones to watch, always worth to keep an eye on young Italian Alice Betto, trying to redeem herself after having to be pulled out of the water in WTS Hamburg, or Yuko Takahashi (JPN).
The women will be taking the stage on Saturday at 12.06 on the pontoon over the Riddarfjärden. Ahead of them, a first lap of 1000m and a second one of 500 to take the bikes for a 40.6km ride among some of the most emblematic buildings of the nordic city.
The circuit is almost flat, except for the hill of the Royal Palace, and athletes will have to go for nine lapso n good tarmac, but with some cobble stones around the Old City. The run course will be four laps of 2.5km each, again on a flat circuit with some parts with cobble stones.
The astonishing transition and finish line, right in front of the Royal Palace, will be the perfect place for the local crowds to cheer on the athletes, but remember you can also watch the race libe on triathlonlive.tv, and follow all the action on social media with the hashtag #WTSStockholm.