The first ever World Triathlon Cup Rome hits the Italian capital city this weekend, with a stellar men’s field ready to tackle the stunning new course and bring the local sports fans plenty of fast and furious triathlon entertainment on Saturday afternoon.
It all begins in the Laghetto dell’EUR, the lake in the heart of the district purpose-built for the 1960 Olympic Games and now at the heart of Rome’s most famous urban park. It’s a sprint-distance affair, the 750m lake swim followed by a long 250m run into transition then out onto the 5-lap, 20km bike. The clockwise course packs long, rolling straights, tight turns and a twisting 5% climb at the halfway point, before the final 5km run segment plays out over two laps around the lake.
You can watch the full men’s race over on TriathlonLive.tv from midday local time on Saturday 7 October.
Fully-fit Vilaca ready to bounce back
Wearing the men’s number one will be Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca. Emerging from the disappointment of Pontevedra, where illness hampered his shot at the world title down the second half of the run, the 23-year-old will have taken much away from the experience, not to mention his best season to date.
Three years since his last World Cup foray when he followed Vincent Luis onto the Karlovy Vary podium, this would be the perfect time to see out a race to the golden conclusion his performances at a Cup and Series level have deserved. Definitely one to watch over the next 10 months as the Paris Olympics build up kicks in.
Lehmann looking for big finish
Hungarian triathlon is in a purple patch right now, and spearheading it on the men’s side is Csongor Lehmann. A former Junior and U23 World Champion, he scored a first World Cup gold in Karlovy vary in 2022 and followed it with a home gold in Tiszaujvaros this year. A strong swim-biker who is fearless on the run, his 7th place at the Championship Finals underlined how far the 24-year-old has come in the last two seasons.
Italian medal hopes may lie with Michele Sarzilla and Gianluca Pozzatti, the latter finally seeing out a Cup gold in Miyazaki last year having looked so close to the podium on so many occasions in the past. Young talent Nicolo Strada will also likely feature as he looks to back up his fine swim form with the finish to match.
Marten Van Riel continues to seek his 2022 race sharpness after a long injury lay-off that came to an end in May, the Belgian star fading over the 10km run in Pontevedra after a typically powerful bike segment. Someone who has built their finishes into medal-winning prowess is Norway’s Vetle Bergsvik Thorn, third in Tangier and sizing up a Paris 2024 starting berth for Norway. Britain’s Harry Leleu took a career-best fourth in Morocco and lines up alongside teammate and 2022 U23 World Champion Connor Bentley.
Germany and Spain field strong squads
Lasse Luhrs stamped his ticket to Paris with 5th place in Pontevedra, something that any one of the six Spanish men lining up would love to be able to say as competition for the start-list spots heats up. Antonio Serrat Seoane and Roberto Sanchez Mantecon may have the edge at the moment in the rankings, but Sergio Baxter Cabrera and David Castro Fajardo lie in 30th and 33rd respectively heading to Rome, while David Cantero de Campo’s win in Valencia has catapulted the 20-year-old into the reckoning.
Expect the likes of Austria’s Tjebbe Kaindl and Israel’s Shachar Sagiv to be driving the bike segment, young Greek talent Panagiotis Bitados will hope for a strong final push after some eye-catching performances and Richard Murray’s top 10 in Tangier will have whetted the 34-year-old’s appetite to be a feature, just as he was in WTCS Sunderland.
For the full start lists click here.