All eyes on Blummenfelt's Bergen for first ever World Cup in home of Norwegian triathlon
The action returns to the World Triathlon blue carpet this weekend, the venue Bergen, as Norway hosts its first ever World Triathlon Cup. Hometown of current Olympic and World Champion Kristian Blummenfelt, 70.3 World Champion Gustav Iden and Casper Stornes, the fields are stacked with talent from all over the world ready to take to the streets where Norway’s finest grew up. The team’s achievements have put Norway – and more specifically Bergen – firmly on the triathlon map and this weekend we will see a celebration of the sport to underline the remarkable crop of talent to have come out of the ‘city of seven mountains’.
The country already had a rich tradition of winter triathlon - it will also host the 2023 World Triathlon Winter Championships - and is now ready to step up to welcome world-class swim-bike-run action in the midst of the great success that its athletes are enjoying on the international circuit.
The athletes will line up for a 750m swim in the chilly Vågen waters, before a technical, fast and full-focus bike course that includes a mix of cobblestones, asphalt and some tight switchback turns for 20km and includes four passes up the Nordess Hill by the aquarium lined with vocal local crowds. The run course won’t be straightforward either, 5km through the heart of the city with a light ascent right after the famous fish market to finish among the beautiful, colourful houses of Bergen harbour.
You can watch all the action from 16.50 local time CEST over on TriathlonLive.tv.
He may not be wearing the race number one, but no doubt all eyes will be set on Kristian Blummenfelt come Sunday afternoon. The current Olympic and World Champion has had an incredible season so far in the long distance format as winner of the Ironman World Championships and the Collins Cup and the Sub7 project, but the question now is how will he perform in a sprint-distance race?
Blummenfelt’s last outing on the format was last year’s Arzachena World Cup, where he finished in 7th place, but the Norwegian superstar knows this course and to beat him on the streets where he grew up will not be easy. As he usually says, it will be a day to “go hard or go home” - even though this time home will be just a few metres from the finish line.
But Bergen will not only be a special race for Blummenfelt. Gustav Iden, Casper Stornes and Vetle Bergsvik Thorn will between them be dreaming of a repeat of that historic Norwegian podium sweep at WTCS Bermuda in 2018, but this time on home soil. Iden’s father was part of the team behind the course and Stornes returns to the World Triathlon fray for the first time since his horrific crash in Arzachena ready to show what he is capable of.
Sunday will also see the return to racing for Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee. The three-time Olympic medalist is looking towards the Olympic rankings once again and will want to be firing after an injury sustained in a bike crash in Leeds that left him a frustrated spectator at the Commonwealth Games.
Dorian Coninx (FRA) makes a rare World Cup start, and the in-form European Championship silver medalist is ready to give the Norwegians a run for their money along with teammate Tom Richard, who also knows exactly what it takes to stand on a podium at World Cup level, and the hard bike course set up in Bergen should suit him perfectly.
The 65 men lining up on Sunday have accumulated a total of 20 World Cup wins and 56 podiums in all, so we can expect a fierce battle for the top positions with some of the fastest runners of the circuit. It could be a race for the ages down the final 5km and though Blummenfelt will be hard to beat, expect Iden, Max Studer (SUI), Genis Grau (ESP), Matthew McElroy (USA) and Jonny Brownlee to be ready for battle.
Excellent swimmers like Mark Devay (HUN), Coninx and Richard will look to make an impact on the race from the outset, the long out to the first buoy potentially offering a great opportunity to stretch the field before hitting the blue carpet for the first transition.
Igor Bellido (ESP) will be the youngest athlete lining up, but the 2021 Junior World Champion has already some experience in the senior circuit and can be one to watch if a large group makes it to the second transition together, as can be the case for Seth Rider (USA), Takumi Hojo (JPN) or Emil Holm (DEN).
For the full line ups, click here.
Related Event: 2022 World Triathlon Cup Bergen
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