The superstars of elite triathlon are just days away from competing in what is set to be one of the most thrilling races in ITU history, WTS 2018 season opener in Abi Dhabi taking place this Friday. Sixty-five of the sport’s leading male athletes from 25 countries, including eight of the world’s top 10 ITU ranked athletes, will go head-to-head for the season’s first honours on the iconic Yas Island.
The star-studded line-up will feature double World Champion and 2016 WTS Abu Dhabi winner, Mario Mola, facing his first race of the season the way he likes. With a fast and furious sprint race.
“Abu Dhabi is the one date that really stands out in my calendar,” said Mario Mola. “It’s the season opener and the opportunity for triathletes to kick-start their season with a win on what is becoming one of the most exciting races on the WTS circuit. Last year was a real challenge for me with the new course on Yas Island and the competition was extremely high. But I’m hoping for a better result this year as I go for a hat-trick of Abu Dhabi wins. I’m familiar with the course and want to put on an amazing show for all the fantastic spectators that come out to show their support. The quality of triathletes competing this year is truly world-class, you just have to look at those who will be standing side-by-side on the start line and it already fills me with huge amounts of excitement. I can’t wait to get started!”.
One of his most direct rivals will be, indeed, British two-time Olympic medallist Jonathan Brownlee, who returns to the WTS competition after finishing last season in sixth place in a year that finished way better than how it started for the younger brother of the Leeds’ superstars.
“Abu Dhabi is an awesome location for the season-opening WTS race - I raced on the Corniche course back in 2015, and am excited to check out the new course on Yas Island. The weather in March in Abu Dhabi will be perfect – a far cry from the conditions we have experienced in the UK this winter”, said the younger Brownlee.
But those two won’t be the only ones who will have the world’s eyes set on to. The world-class line up for WTS Abu Dhabi 2018 men’s elite field have recorded a combined total of 282 wins on the ITU World Triathlon Series circuit and shared more than 700 podium places between them – delivering the strongest WTS Abu Dhabi line-up in the history of the event.
Mola and Jonny Brownlee will be joined by more world-class competition, with the likes of Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt, who was one of the ITU breakout stars after finishing in third place in the overall ranking, or the South African Richard Murray, who just started his season in a stunning way claiming the victory in the first World Cup of the 2018 season in Cape Town.
Other names worth to watch will be Spaniard Fernando Alarza – also ranked in the ITU’s top five or his compatriot Vicente Hernandez.
The eye-catching line-up also features crowd favourites including; Vincent Luis, who was victorious in the ITU World Triathlon Series 2017 Grand-Final in Rotterdam, or Henri Schoeman, also a former ITU World Triathlon Grand-Final winner and Rio 2016 bronze medallist.
The elite men will take the stake at 13.22 local time on Friday, March 2. Remember you can follow all the action on triathlonlive.tv and on Twitter with the handle @triathlonlive.