WTCS start lists announced for crucial Paris Olympic Games triathlon qualifying race

After the first scheduled race of the year at WTCS Abu Dhabi back in March was cancelled, it has been a long wait for top tier short course action in 2024.

However, with race day in Japan drawing closer, the start lists for both the elite men and women’s races have finally been released for WTCS Yokohama.

Featuring WTCS winners, Olympic gold medalists and IRONMAN World Champions, the racing as it stands looks set to be spectacular on May 11.

All eyes on the USA in women’s field

In the women’s race, the focus will firmly be on the American women, as Kirsten Kasper, Taylor Spivey, Gwen Jorgensen and Summer Rappaport seek to secure a podium finish and join Taylor Knibb on the plane to Paris.

World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki 2023 Gwen Jorgensen
Photo Credit: World Triathlon

Looking to spoil the party will be the likes of Olympic champion Flora Duffy, who is set to make her return to racing after a long injury layoff, and Vicky Holland, who races her first WTCS event since becoming a mother.

Other podium contenders include French superstar Emma Lombardi, plus any of a five-strong German team that includes Test Event third place finisher Laura Lindemann and recent European Cup winner Lisa Tertsch.

The big names missing on the women’s side are arguably the two favourites for gold this summer, Cassandre Beaugrand and reigning WTCS Champion Beth Potter, with Olympic silver medalist Georgia Taylor-Brown also opting to skip this race.

Katie Zaferes, the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, is another athlete absent. Due to her ranking in relation to her American teammates, Zaferes did not have a high enough world ranking to secure a slot in Yokohama.

Blummenfelt starts Olympic defence buildup

Having won WTCS Yokohama back in 2021, prior to taking the Olympic title, Kristian Blummenfelt will hope to replicate the feat from three years ago when he lines up for his first race of the season in Japan.

WTCS Yokohama 2021 / Kristian Blummenfelt

The Norwegian, who across the board is one of triathlon’s most decorated athletes, will get the chance to test his fitness against some of his main rivals in Yokohama ahead of judgment day in Paris this summer.

Whilst fellow Olympic medalists Alex Yee and Hayden Wilde are both missing, French quartet Leo Bergere, Dorian Coninx, Tom Richard and Vincent Luis will pose a real challenge, with four world titles between them.

American Morgan Pearson, who finished on the podium in Paris and secured his spot for the Olympics this summer, is another top tier competitor, as are the Belgian duo of Marten van Riel and Jelle Geens.

Matt Hauser is often talked about as a medal contender in Paris, and he will be racing alongside a strong Australian squad that includes Jacob Birtwhistle, Brandon Copeland, Luke Willian and Callum McClusky in Yokohama.

Finally, as the sole male representative of Team GB, triathlon’s most decorated Olympian Jonathan Brownlee will have his first shot of the season to prove to selectors why he should be given a slot to his fourth Olympic Games.

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