Van Riel and Luis lead charge for vital Series points in new-look WTCS Montreal
This weekend sees the fifth edition of the World Triathlon Championship Series Montreal, and a brand-new format unveiled as the athletes compete over two days on a super-sprint city-centre course. Friday’s qualification races and repechage will determine the 30 names onto the start list for Saturday’s three-part final, when the top 20 from race one progress to race two, after which just ten men will remain to go for the gold.
The action is going to be fast and unpredictable, with just enough time between races to recalibrate the body, reset transitions and clear the head before preparing to go again. The course consists of a 300m swim, 3-lap/7.2km bike and 2-lap/2km run. Tactics will be key, saving energy for as long as possible without risking elimination and keeping the chase on not just for the podium in Montreal, but also vital points in the hunt to become the 2021 World Champion.
You can watch all the action on TriathlonLive from 11.15am local time / 17.15 CEST Friday, with the finals underway at 1.30pm local time Saturday.
Qualification race one
The first men’s race of the day will see some of the fastest swimmers on the circuit looking to gain the early advantage, with Marten van Riel (BEL), Tayler Reid (NZL) and Vincent Luis (FRA) among the big names eager to get clear of the pack. Van Riel has been in flying form in 2021, posted the second-fastest leg of anyone in the Olympic Mixed Relay less than two weeks ago and finds himself the top-ranked athlete with no Kristian Blummenfelt or Alex Yee lining up in Montreal.
New Zealand’s Reid was the fastest man in the water in that relay closely followed by Luis, and both will be looking to put themselves safely into the front bike pack on Friday to ensure qualification. Elsewhere, Antonio Serrat Seoane looks ready to continue his ascension to the top table of Spanish triathlon in a format that could suit his attritional power, and Brazil’s Manoel Messias will be looking to deploy his sprint power as and when necessary to ensure his progress.
Kevin McDowell was in sparkling form in Tokyo and will have taken huge confidence from his contribution to Team USA’s Olympic Mixed Relay silver over the shorter distance. Australia’s Aaron Royle and Brandon Copeland, German duo Valentin Wernz and Jonas Breinlinger and Swiss star Sylvain Fridelance will all be making sure that the first of the men’s quests for a top ten finish will be absolutely gripping down the final yards.
Qualification race two
There is strong Antipodean representation in the second men’s race, too, Hayden Wilde having bounded his way to a superb Olympic bronze and standing fifth in the Series rankings. Tokyo was only Wilde’s second taste of World Triathlon racing in almost 18 months but followed a great comeback at WTCS Leeds and the New Zealander will have the wind in his sails once again here in Montreal.
Third here in 2018, Jacob Birtwhistle has the kind of kick that can get him out of trouble if called upon over the closing stages of the run and will be among the favourites to go all the way, fellow Australian Matthew Hauser likewise and both should be well-suited to the relentless demands of the new format.
French duo Leo Bergere and Dorian Coninx will be hoping they’ll move on without any surprises and find teammate and fellow Olympian Vincent Luis in Saturday’s finals, Belgium’s Jelle Geens still looking to vanquish his misfortune at missing the Olympic individual race with a grandstand performance in the city he scooped his first WTCS gold two years ago. Jeremy Briand is the sole Canadian to start, making his debut at the WTCS level and looking to give the home crowds plenty to cheer across the two days.
The full start lists can be found here.
02:15 - 10 Aug, 2021
01:33 - 09 Aug, 2021