The 2017 ITU World Triathlon Series has reached the seventh stop on the calendar, as another city becomes a part of the WTS family with the debut of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Montreal. As the second Canadian city to host a race this season, Montreal becomes the 24th city in ITU history to have graced the WTS circuit.
Montreal will host the fourth standard distance race of the season, giving athletes a unique and picturesque course that will challenge them through a series of climbs that winds around the Old City.
The Spanish have consistently been holding a firm grip on the leaderboard this season, entering Montreal once again with the top three spots in the start list. The national standout however has been Mario Mola, who will wear the number one position this Sunday. He has won the last four races that he has lined up for, most recently winning in Edmonton, a venue he had yet to win at in his career. With the victory streak that Mola has been keeping, he is teetering on joining the ranks of being one of the only men in ITU history to win five WTS races in a season, a feat that only Alistair Brownlee has been able to do back in 2009.
Fernando Alarza (ESP) is still second in the WTS rankings, but a bought of misfortune in his last two races have taken him off the podium. He was involved in a bike crash in Hamburg that gave him a DNF and then raced with a fever in Edmonton, leaving him to finish ninth. But if he can get back to how he was racing at the start of the season, where he earned three medals, he should be back to his racing glory.
The other top Spaniard is of course Javier Gomez Noya. He started out the season by winning the first gold of the year in Abu Dhabi, but since then he has finished close, but just off the podium. However, after trying his hand at sprint races in the last two competitions, Gomez welcomes Montreal with a standard course, a distance he prefers and excels at.
Aussie Jacob Birtwhistle has been having a standout season this year. In the last two races he has shown how strong he is, especially when it comes to his running abilities. His sprint in Hamburg that gave him the silver wowed the crowd, which he then used again to help his team win the Triathlon Mixed Relays World Championship. In Edmonton last weekend, he once again put forth a strong running performance, he just unfortunately miscounted the laps and broke away too early. However, despite the error, he still managed to snag the silver. Birtwhistle wants his first WTS gold, and this weekend could be the place to do that.
Richard Murray (RSA) got back on the WTS podium in Edmonton by taking the bronze, bringing his medal count to two for the season. As always, Murray remains one of the strongest competitors in the field and is always a known threat out on the course. He also is one person looking to get his first gold of the season.
Last year in Montreal, when the race was a world cup, it was Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt who took home the gold. He is one of the wild card players out on the course, ready to attack at any moment and someone who can never be counted out.
Another strong man lining up this weekend is Great Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee. Before Edmonton, Brownlee stated that after missing Hamburg, he realistically is out of the running for the World Title, which means he can race without the added pressure to perform, something he is quite enjoying. However, just because he isn’t clawing his way for a World Crown doesn’t mean he should be forgotten. Brownlee is consistently good and is one of the most aggressive players in the field, so look for him to mix things up, especially in the bike leg.
Other talent to look out for is Ryan Sissons (NZL) and Frenchman Raphael Montoya. Sissons made WTS podium glory for the first time in his career in Hamburg. He then skipped Edmonton, so he has fresh legs and ready to get back on the podium again, this time testing his skills at the longer course. Montoya is a fast and young talent who is going to make headlines. He had a strong performance in Edmonton and finished fifth and is only going to continue putting up strong finishes.
The women will get the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Montreal underway at 13:30 on Saturday, August 05, while the men will follow the next day at 13:30 local time on Sunday, August 06. Follow all of the action live at triathlonlive.tv and on twitter @triathlonlive.
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