By Doug Gray on 03/07/19 at 9:54 am
Consistently one of the biggest and best weekends of World Series racing, the Hamburg Wasser World Triathlon returns this weekend with a women’s start list packed with some of the biggest names of the sport from the past decade. The sprint distance course offers no room for error and, from the crowds bearing down on the athletes over the final hundred metres of the swim to the packed grandstands of the city’s main square, it sets the perfect stage for the athletes to pull out something special.
Just as she did here a year ago, USA’s Katie Zaferes sports the race number one and Series Leader cap after getting back to winning ways in Montreal a week ago. Not that there had been a significant dip in the 2018 Series runner-up’s form; silver in Leeds last month was only the slightest of chinks in the otherwise golden armour that has been the story of Zaferes’ hugely impressive and, to her nearest rivals, downright intimidating season so far.
Zaferes’ teammate Taylor Spivey will need to conjure up comfortably her best performance to date in Hamburg if she is to maintain her challenge for the 2019 World title and, given her results so far this year, it is hard not to back her. Two podiums, a fourth and a sixth this term suggest she is in the form of her life, and having rested for WTS Montreal, the added freshness could be just the ingredient needed to deliver that as-yet elusive World Series gold.
Also returning for the first time since WTS Leeds is defending World Champion Vicky Holland (GBR). The 33-year-old delivered an incredible finish to the 2018 season but has yet to rediscover that incendiary form so far this year. Going one better than her second-place here in 2015 would certainly be cathartic, despite the defence of her title looking out of reach as she clings on to a top 10 place in the 2019 rankings.
It has been another of the strong British girls, Georgia Taylor Brown, who has burst onto the scene since the second half of 2018 to lay down her credentials for a world title. The youngest athlete in the women’s starting top 10, Taylor Brown scored gold in Leeds and has been one of the few able to consistently push Katie Zaferes all the way to the wire so far in 2019.
Last year it was France’s own rising star Cassandre Beaugrand who grabbed the headlines when an imperious sprint-distance display saw her take the tape a full 30 seconds ahead of her nearest rival. That rival was Germany’s Laura Lindemann, who was back racing at the end of June after a brief lay-off through illness to land silver at the Antwerp World Cup. She will undoubtedly be as hungry as ever to finally top a WTS podium and to do it here after a second and a third on the Hamburg course.
London 2012 Olympic Champion and Rio 2016 silver medallist Nicola Spirig makes her first start since the 2018 WTS Montreal following the birth of her third child earlier this year. The Swiss legend, plotting a course back to peak fitness and a potential third straight Olympic medal in Tokyo, has four WTS golds to her name and finished fourth here 12 months ago.
Kirsten Kasper (USA), Non Stanford (GBR) and Jodie Stimpson (GBR) all bagged top-10 finishes here last year within four seconds of each other and the experienced campaigners will be up for another battle on the streets of Hamburg this time out.
Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer grabbed another top 10 finish in Montreal but has yet to rediscover the magic touch that delivered a debut WTS gold in Abu Dhabi in 2018, while Australian Emma Jackson will be looking to add to her five WTS podiums to date and, after a good showing in Montreal, is another who will be laying it all on the line as she tries to land that elusive gold.
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