World and Olympic Champions land in Arzachena for year’s first World Cup action
The third successive laying of the famous World Triathlon blue carpet in Arzachena will get both the 2022 World Cup season and the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification Period underway in Sardinia this Saturday.
It is a young course that has already seen some of the biggest names the sport has ever known competing for gold. In 2020, Vincent Luis held off the challenge of Kristian Blummenfelt and Alistair Brownlee, last year saw Jonnny Brownlee take gold and set up an unprecedented third successful Olympic campaign.
From the beach start of the 750m swim to the steep climbs on the three-lap (20km) bike and the undulating 5km run, it is one of the toughest sprint-distance courses out there, and you can watch all the action as it happens on TriathlonLive.tv.
The first Olympic points on the line means it’s another big start list for the men. Twelve months ago, Jonathan Brownlee was indeed setting the pace and lapping up the significant challenge of the Cannegione hills and hot Sardinian sunshine. He returns for his first action of 2022 on a course he clearly enjoyed and eager to see where that early-season fitness is, as he stands on the cusp of a fourth Olympics campaign.
The number one will be worn by Antonio Serrat Seoane, currently second in the overall Maurice Lacroix Rankings and looking to carry that current momentum into his first Olympic campaign. The 27-year-old has two World Cup podiums to his name – both in Weihai, 2018 and 2019 – but has been knocking on the door of the top three at the top level and the winning habit may not be far behind.
The same could be said for Adrien Briffod, who found himself in the middle of a Brownlee-Mola sandwich last year with a display that underlined how comfortable he is mixing it at the top table. The Swiss was winner at the other end of Sardinia back in 2017 on a Cagliari course where he saw off the likes of Henri Schoeman and Justus Nieschlag to take gold.
Hungary are well represented thanks to the in-form Mark Devay and U23 World Champion Csongor Lehmann, while Morocco’s Jawad Abdelmoula returns to the circuit after a storming gold-medal win in Tongyeong at the end of 2021 and off the back of continental cup wins in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Brazil’s Manoel Messias has the run power to write some headlines if he can stay in touch with the leaders across the bike segment, but those climbs will be all important in his medal hunt.
It feels like the time could be right for Sweden’s Gabriel Sandor to shine once more after two tenth-placed finishes here in the past two editions of the race. Never one to shy away from the toughest tests, Arzachena 2022 could just be the time that the 26-year-old strikes a first World Cup podium since Antwerp 2019.
Young Kiwi Dylan Mccullough starts on a high having just been selected for the New Zealand Commonwealth Games squad alongside Hayden Wilde and Tayler Reid, while Australian Max Stapley returns from Arena Games duties for his latest challenge alongside teammates Luke Willian and Luke Bate.
The French pair of Paul Georgenthum and Tom Richard have repeatedly shown their ability at this level and could shine, while newcomer Valentin Morlec is a huge talent in the ascension. Germany will also be well-represented through the experienced Jonas Schomburg and Lasse Luhrs, Israel’s Shachar Sagiv ready to give another good account after his 20th place at Tokyo 2020 and a man for whom the bike course will be a challenge to relish rather than fear.
For the full start list click here.
World Triathlon Cup Arzachena
28 May, 15.30 CEST
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