Men’s final push to Paris 2024 continues with Friday’s crucial Olympic Games Test Event
At 8am on Friday morning, the world’s top 65 male triathletes will line up in the shadows of Paris’ iconic Ponte Alexandre III ready to sample the full challenge of the 2024 Olympic Games triathlon course and battle it out for a select few direct qualification places on the start list for next year’s Games as well as points towards the 2023 World Championship title race.
It is a course that takes in some of the French capital’s best-known landmarks, a 1.5km anti-clockwise swim that passes twice under the Ponte d’Invalides, a flat 5.715km bike lap to be navigated 7 times, each lap with over 25% cobbled surface down the Champs Elysees and a 10km run that is over 50% cobbles and crosses the Alexandre III bridge four times. A huge and unfamiliar test that will require full concentration from start to finish.
Pay-per-view passes for all four of the Paris Test Events are available at TriathlonLive.tv.
Formidable French Foursome
All eyes will be on les bleus as current World Champion Leo Bergere, two-time World Champion Vincent Luis, WTCS Sunderland winner Pierre Le Corre and two-time WTCS gold medallist Dorian Coninx line up together for the first time since collectively conquering the 2022 Championship Finals Abu Dhabi.
Bergere and Le Corre were back to their best at WTCS Sunderland, the latter scoring his first Series success at just the right time after a dramatic sprint finish win over his teammate. Luis makes his return from the hip injury that has kept him out of racing since 4th place in the season opener in Abu Dhabi, hungry for an uncomplicated home Games build up after his Tokyo turmoil. All four men know that if up to two of them can podium, they will get their names on the Paris 2024 start list – no small feat from such a densely talented pool of athletes.
In their collective absences from the blue carpet for some of this campaign, New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde and Britain’s Alex Yee have once more stepped into the fray to deliver top-quality entertainment and plenty of fireworks. Perhaps most notably, Wilde’s win at WTCS Hamburg was the first time he’d overcome Yee in a Series race that they’ve both finished, a strong and savvy tactical climax to a gruelling super-sprint world championships that cemented his place at the top of the rankings and underlined his quick-thinking prowess through the fog of battle. The pair have been box office ever since that brilliant Tokyo Olympic podium showdown, evidence suggests the next 12 months are likely to offer even more, starting on Friday.
Blummenfelt’s Olympic defence begins here
The third part of that Tokyo medal trio was of course the triumphant Kristian Blummenfelt, for whom the meticulous preparations last time out will begin all over again this week. The Norwegian’s explosive bike power was evident for all to see once more in Hamburg, but it his run speed over the Olympic distance course and cobbles he will want to discover as he juggles his distances and a heavy schedule of races.
For Matthew Hauser, 2023 has begun just as he would have hoped – with a first Series win in Montreal following right after silver in Yokohama. Strong through the swim and bike and now with a run finish to match, the Australian’s already comfortable-looking place on a first Olympic start line would be sealed with a top eight finish at the Test Event. Portugal’s Vasco Vilaça will be as hungry as anyone to seize his Olympic opportunities after the disappointment of missing out on Tokyo selection and consistency means he has found himself at the top of the rankings for much of the season to date.
Elsewhere on the start, Csongor Lehmann’s superb season has seen him crash into the top 10 in the Olympic Qualification Ranking with successive season top 10s and a fine home win at the Tiszaujvaros World Cup. A top 5 finish for Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk will guarantee him a second Olympiuc start.
Like compatriot Alex Yee, a podium for Jonathan Brownlee would see him automatically take one of the two berths already assigned Team GB after their silver at the Mixed Relay World Championships. For the five-deep Spanish men’s team, a top 8 finish would put them onto the Olympic start list and competition between places will be fierce between the amassed talents of Roberto Sanchez Mantecon, Antonio Serrat Seoane, David Castro, Sergio Baxter Cabrera and Genis Grau as Spain’s old guard steps aside.
World Triathlon Olympic Games Test Event
From 8am local time on Friday 18 August
The full start list is available here.
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