Paris calling with final Olympic ranking points up for grabs at WTCS Cagliari

by on 22 May, 2024 02:45 • Español
Paris calling with final Olympic ranking points up for grabs at WTCS Cagliari

It is to the idyllic Italian island of Sardinia that the triathlon world’s attentions turn on Saturday morning, where the beautiful setting will be the stage for wildfire racing as the final ranking points for Paris 2024 are awarded and Olympic destinies are written.

This will be the third edition of WTCS Cagliari, a race where, until now, two women have dominated and a tough beach swim has blown apart ambition before it even had time to take root. It’s 1.5km in the water, 40km and 10 laps on the rolling bike course, 10km and 4 laps on the run, all under the baking Sardinian sunshine.

For those from several countries including USA, Great Britain, Australia, Spain and Italy, this is the last opportunity to shine before the discretionary Paris 2024 spots are picked. The podium places will therefore assume even greater significance than usual as a statement of intent.

There will be fireworks in Cagliari, and you can watch the action from 11am CEST over on

Periault so good in Yokohama

Wearing the number one and fresh from her debut Series gold in Yokohama, Leonie Periault of France is the latest to be thrust into the limelight ahead of the tantalising prospect of a home Games. The hammer went down early in the run two weeks ago and the pace never let up, the 29-year-old fulfilling the promise of recent seasons.

Building on her fifth place in Tokyo 2020 will be the target again now, but first an Olympic-distance challenge on a course that hasn’t been a favourite in the past. A puncture in 2023 and with 46th in 2022, a big result here would be the self-confidence injection that could kick start a big Paris campaign.

France versus GB round three

Last year’s World Champion Beth Potter starts for the first time since winning the E World Triathlon title in London, where the Brit defeated Cassandre Beaugrand to claim the prize just as she had in the Pontevedra Finals last September.

If 2023 was the year of Potter vs Beaugrand, from the title race to the Test Event in August, then 2024 could see the two locked into an even more engrossing battle. Potter admits she became addicted to winning after that first gold in Abu Dhabi, Beaugrand looked every bit as invincible as she triumphed in Sunderland and Hamburg. Both have two top 10s in Cagliari, but the podium will be a big target this time around.

Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) has the two wins and a 100% record so far in Cagliari, Emma Lombardi (FRA) the two silvers. The Brit makes her first WTCS start since June last year after an injury-hit 2023 knowing her place on the GB team could hinge on her performance this weekend. The matter of an individual Olympic silver and relay gold to her name will surely boost those chances dramatically.

For Lombardi, bronze in Yokohama was a fourth Series medal for the 23-year-old, her place in Paris as assured as her temperament has been while making the transition from U23 World Champion to the elite look disarmingly easy.

Add in the 2023 WTCS Yokohama champion Sophie Coldwell and Pontevedra Finals silver medallist Kate Waugh, and the British challenge for places in Paris couldn’t be much closer to call.

USA qualification goes down to the wire

The only nation that looks harder to call on the women’s side is the USA, where five athletes still chase the two unfilled places on the Olympic squad alongside Taylor Knibb. After their gutsy 4th and 5th places in Yokohama, Taylor Spivey and Kirsten Kasper will feel they are well placed, Summer Rappaport will want to banish her race to the history books and Katie Zaferes arrives in Cagliari looking to seize the moment. A big showing here could be enough to open the Paris door and follow up that individual bronze and relay silver in Tokyo.

Sophie Linn, Natalie Van Coevorden, Charlotte McShane and Jaz Hedgeland are on their own quests for a place on the Australian Olympic squad, while question marks remain over the Italian team: Bianca Seregni and Verena Steinhauser head into the race as the top-ranked women, Ilaria Zane now firmly in the top 30, Alice Betto in 42nd and in need of delivering something special on home soil.

Duffy’s defence underway

It was a thrilled Flora Duffy who finished WTCS Yokohama with 7th place and, more importantly, with no sign of the injury that kept her off the blue carpet for 18 months after her 2022 world title win. The Olympic Champion has never raced Cagliari, and will use the inherent uncertainties of a new course as a test for her adaptability ahead of a very different new challenge in Paris.

Maya Kingma’s flat tyre halted a promising Yokohama charge and redemption may well await in Cagliari. Luxembourg’s Jeanne Lehair will hope to bounce back from a disappointing showing a fortnight ago and Denmark’s Alberte Kjaer Pedersen arrives off the back of a big World Cup win in Huatulco.

WTCS Cagliari
25 May, 11am CEST

Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari
25 May, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Elite Men
1. Alex Yee GBR 01:39:44
2. Hayden Wilde NZL 01:39:46
3. Csongor Lehmann HUN 01:40:27
4. Vetle Bergsvik Thorn NOR 01:40:36
5. Ricardo Batista POR 01:40:37
Results: Elite Women
1. Cassandre Beaugrand FRA 01:47:25
2. Lisa Tertsch GER 01:47:28
3. Beth Potter GBR 01:47:31
4. Emma Lombardi FRA 01:47:32
5. Jeanne Lehair LUX 01:47:51
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