The best triathletes in the world will gather in Sweden this weekend for the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm, one of the most emblematic and scenic races on the ITU calendar. For the penultimate leg of the WTS season, athletes will be competing on a standard distance course, the same one from last year, in one of the most beautiful set ups of the world, which sits right next to the Royal Palace.
Most eyes will be focused, one more time, on the Spaniard Army. With Mario Mola leading the pack, and knowing that no matter what he does in Sotckholm he will be the leader when the Grand Final comes, he will be wearing the golden number 1 this Saturday. With four victories in WTS races this season – WTS Gold Coast, WTS Yokohama, WTS Hamburg and WTS Edmonton - the Spaniard sure wants to get rid of the sour experience of finishing WTS Montreal, two weeks ago, in a disappointing 14th position, way further back than what he is used to. Back in the Standard distance in Stockholm, he will try to secure himself a podium position which will guarantee him also a comfortable lead before facing the Grand Final in Rotterdam in September.
His main concern in this race will probably be another Spaniard, Fernando Alarza, who had a powerful start of the season, with three podiums, but has been just recently being left out of the podium positions for the overall WTS rankings, standing currently in fourth position. With his teammate Javier Gomez Noya and South African contendant Richard Murray not racing this weekend, he has a great chance of not only getting in the podium positions in Stockholm, but also to get back to the top overall rankings. An 8th position in this race will put him in third, while crossing the finish line in fourth or better will be enough to guarantee him the second place in the WTS rankings.
Alarza is the only athlete in the men’s field who has taken the start in all seven WTS races this season, and if he can get back to how he was racing at the start of the year, where he got three medals, he will be without a doubt be back to his glory racing.
The Spaniards will have to be wise and strong during the swim if they want to keep their chances of the podium, as British Jonathan Brownlee will be for sure trying to redeem himself of his lasts performances in Canada, where he finished fourth two times in back to back races. He surely will be putting some pressure on the series leaders, trying to break away on the bike course. Flat and with nine laps during scenic parts of the city, looks like a perfect scenario for great and strong bikers as the Brit indeed is. And he has been in the podium in the last four WTS races in Stockholm: two wins, a second place and a third. A one to watch here for sure, even though his two wins where over sprint distance.
Another athlete who knows what and how it is to race in Stockholm is Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt, who has taken the start in the Riddafjarden in the last four consecutive years. He most probably will be one of the wild card players out on the course, as will be another Brit, Thomas Bishop, or the South African Henri Schoeman. Along with them, some other strong contendants this season will be Kiwi Ryan Sissons, who won his first ever WTS medal a month ago in Hamburg, or Pierre Le Corre (FRA) and Vicente Hernandez (ESP), and never forgetting Slovakian Richard Varga, one of the strongest swimmers of the circuit, who will try to be the first one out of the water… for the 32th consecutive time.
The men will be taking the stake in Stockholm on Saturday at 15.06 CET. They will dive in right in front of the impressive City Hall on the Riddarfjärden for two laps to swim. They will then take the bikes for a 40.6 km circuit, doing nine loops on a flat course, with the exception of the Royal Palace hill. The route, technically demanding and with many changes of directions and turns, has also some cobble stones around the Palace that will be challenging for all.
Lastly, athletes will have to face a 10k run, four lapso n tarmac and cobble stones around the most beautiful and emblematic places in the city. A magnificient espectacle for espectators on site, but remember that you can also follow the races live on triathlonlive.tv, and on social media with the hashtag #WTSStockholm.
|Results: Elite Men|
|3.||Pierre Le Corre||FRA||01:49:28|