Olympic and World Triathlon Champions set to battle for first honours of 2024 in Abu Dhabi

04 March, 2024 | español

Olympic and World Triathlon Champions set to battle for first honours of 2024 in Abu Dhabi

The World Triathlon Championship Series is back with a bang this weekend, and in the familiar surrounds of the famous Yas Marina F1 track, where a fascinating, fast and furious season opener awaits: WTCS Abu Dhabi.

October’s decisive Pontevedra Championship Finals may feel like a lifetime ago, but the memory of victory will still be fresh for defending champion Dorian Coninx. Of course the Frenchman begins his title defence on Friday wearing the precious number one, but he will also be all too aware of those around him wanting that crown.

As a gauge of how important the race is, only Pierre Le Corre is missing from the top ten men at the end of the last campaign. Indeed only he and Jelle Geens don’t start from 2023’s entire top 20, with the Belgian contender having recently had his first child.

So if there was ever a time to send out a warning message to the best in the world and establish some major credentials for a big 2024, then this is certainly it. As always, you can watch full coverage on TriathlonLive.tv.

Six-stop Series brings risk and reward

The 750m Marina swim transitions down the home straight of the track and then it is out onto the 5 x 4km lap fast and rolling bike course before a 2 x 2.5km lap run to the tape. Last year, Britain’s Alex Yee hoovered that all up in 52m53. Can he produce that early season form again?

It was Coninx following teammate Vincent Luis out of the water 12 months ago, then the two main bike groups came together at the halfway mark and with five minutes to go on the run, Yee broke up the field with a decisive surge up the final hill.

After Coninx’s supreme season management last time around, will anyone be prepared to roll the dice on day one of this Olympic year and force an early breakaway that could keep the likes of Yee at bay for as long as possible?

Old rivalries ready to resurface

Once again the men’s field has quite a split between the top swimmers and top runners and if the former keep the break this time around, the likes of Hayden Wilde, Kristian Blummenfelt and Yee could be put under significant pressure early on.

Wilde delivered some excellent swims across 2023 but began this year with a poor 750m in the ocean at the Napier World Cup, emerging third from last just as he did here 12 months ago. A flat tyre left his race as no more than a hit-out on the run, but the world number two now knows he can push Yee all the way over 5km, and that is just what the fans will be hoping to see on Friday.

Vasco Vilaca also repeatedly proved his run ability in 2023 and was only shaken off over the very closing stages by Yee last year here and followed over the line by two more major contenders this weekend in Manoel Messias and that man Luis. The two-time World Champion will want to make the most of this opportunity to shine for the French selectors with Le Corre not featuring.

Like Luis, one of the most balanced athletes across all three segments is Australia’s Matthew Hauser, winner for the first time in Montreal last year, and similar can be said for Kenji Nener, though Japan’s number one is still chasing his first Series podium.

Eyes on another prize: Paris 2024 Olympic start berths

Hungary will look to defend their third men’s slot at the Paris Olympics. They have Csongor Lehmann (8th), Bence Bicsak (24th) and Mark Devay (26th) inside the top-30, and Gabor Faldum (33rd) close behind. All four start in Abu Dhabi.

Spain are also pushing for a third men’s slot. Antonio Serrat Seoane (14th) and Roberto Sanchez Mantecon (20th) should be safe, plus one of Sergio Baxter Cabrera (32nd), David Castro Fajardo (35th) and Alberto Gonzalez Garcia (36th) would need to make it inside the top-30. Of those three, only Castro will race in Abu Dhabi, along with rising star David Cantero del Campo.

The German squad again looks potent, Tim Hellwig and Lass Luhrs leading the way but U23 World Champion Simon Henseleit showing he is capable of fireworks last year.

For the USA Matthew McElroy and Seth Rider are the only two American men starting, the former having scored his best WTCS result in four years here in 2023 and another man eager to stamp his place on the Paris pontoon.

Men’s WTCS Abu Dhabi
8 March, 6PM
Full start list here
Watch on TriathlonLive.tv


vincent luis world triathlon championship series dorian coninx leo bergere kristian blummenfelt hayden wilde alex yee wtcs abu dhabi

event website

2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Abu Dhabi

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