The second half of the World Triathlon Series begins this weekend at the 2016 Vattenfall World Triathlon Stockholm. This Saturday, the men’s field will see an array of returning talent, including previous WTS Stockholm champions Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee, as well as Spain’s Fernando Alarza compete in the two-lap 1500m swim, eight-lap 38.2km bike, and 10km run event.
It is Alarza that will be wearing the golden number one this weekend. Alarza was recently named to the Spanish Olympic team, earning a berth to his first-ever Olympic Games. He is currently second overall in the Columbia Threadneedle rankings,after scoring a silver medal in Gold Coast and then winning in Cape Town. Alarza is one of only three men to win a WTS race this year.
However, both Brownlees line up as two of three men to have ever won in Stockholm. Only rival Javier Gomez has also won in Stockholm, but he will miss this year’s race due to illness. Older brother Alistair won the race in 2013, while Jonathan took the top spot in 2012 and 2014. They will both carry strong momentum into Stockholm, with Alistair coming off a win in his hometown of Leeds, and Jonathan having scored silver in the same race.
It was a long overdue win for Alistair, who battled injury much of the last two years and was forced to miss several races. Jonathan. meanwhile, has so far produced a consistent season with three podium performances this season to sit third in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings. The Brownlees already have a proven record in Stockholm, and will need little assistance getting out of the water early in an attempt to break away on the tough bike. Alarza will need to keep the brothers in close distance in the swim for a chance to overpower them.
Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt will race in Stockholm this weekend as a name to watch. In August, he’ll become the first Norwegian to compete in triathlon in the Olympic Games thanks in part to a win at the Cagliari World Cup and a bronze medal in Yokohama. Coming to triathlon from a swimming background, Blummenfelt is known to break away on the bike, which he did with Alistair in 2014 at the Edmonton Grand Final. A much improved run has made this young 22-year-old someone to keep an eye on.
The battle as the swim leader will undoubtedly be between South Africa’s Henri Schoeman and Richard Varga of Slovakia. Both men dominate in the water, so expect to see the two up front out of the two-lap 1500m swim.
Frenchmen Pierre Le Corre and Dorian Coninx will also compete this Saturday. Le Corre is fourth in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings after executing top-ten finishes in three WTS races this season. Both men have podium potential, as they proved over the last two seasons. They will also represent France in Rio this summer. While he missed out on the Australian Olympic team, Under23 World Champion Jacob Birtwhistle has proven his ability to score a top finish with a fourth place in Yokohama & impressive results in the French Grand Prix. This lineup could just be his opportunity to medal.
The women will get the 2016 Vattenfell World Triathlon Stockholm underway at 16:00 on Saturday July 2, while the men will follow at 18:45 local time. Follow all of the action live at triathlonlive.tv and on twitter @triathlonlive. Trifecta returns this year with new features. Create a new login and pick your favourites now at trifecta.usatriathlon.org.
Join the conversation with the hashtags #WTSStockholm and #CTrankings.