Yee eyes world title rivals Wilde, Bergere and Geens with two races to go
There has been no shortage of drama since the planet’s best male triathletes set off on their 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series campaigns back in August last year, and the action continued true to form at the weekend’s WTCS Cagliari when cramp halfway through the run threatened to derail Alex Yee’s pursuit of Hayden Wilde at the top of the Maurice Lacroix World Rankings.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist fought through the pain to win his third gold of the campaign and keep dreams of a first world title alive and kicking. Having only had two scoring WTCS finishes going into the weekend, Yee knew that a podium was essential if he was to have any chance of catching Wilde.
With two races left to go, Yee now sits in fourth on 3000 overall Series points, Wilde still topping the rankings on 3850 points after two wins and two silvers, also firmly eyeing his first world title. The heat is about to get turned up once more on what has already been a remarkable season.
New leader post-Bermuda?
With Wilde not currently down to race WTCS Bermuda at the start of November, Yee will be hoping he can seize the opportunity to take the top spot with a podium finish.
Of course, a win would see him cruise to 4000 points and set up the possibility of a maximum total were he to then find gold at the World Triathlon Championship Finals Abu Dhabi on 26 November.
Currently standing between the two favourites for the 2022 title are Leo Bergere and Jelle Geens. Bergere has been Mr Consistent all year with four WTCS podiums to his name, while Geens already knows what it takes to win in Abu Dhabi, albeit his win coming over the sprint distance last November. Could either still make a play to become the 2022 World Triathlon Champion?
Victory for Geens would see him move above Bergere and onto 3523 points, while anything better than 9th place for Yee would see him into at least second with one race to go. So with the potential point distribution remaining purely a matter of speculation, what are the certainties left in play?
All-decisive Abu Dhabi
For one, we know it will be hot hot hot out in the UAE for the Finals, and heat planning and management will be absolutely crucial if the mercury tops 30C.
For another, neither Wilde nor Yee will want to lose too much ground to the front pack coming out of the water. As evidenced by his Commonwealth Games showing, Wilde’s swim is much improved, but that was 750m and amongst a very different field.
Finally, even in the face of uncharacteristic leg cramps, Yee and Wilde have been in incredible run form this year. Wilde loves to set a fearless pace off the front, Yee almost inevitably closing down whoever he has needed to, including his main title rival in both Montreal and Yokohama.
Should Yee win in Bermuda, second place in the Championship Finals - even behind Wilde - would be sufficient to win him the world title.
So all that’s left is to enjoy the countdown. Be sure to set the reminders over on TriathlonLive.tv for the fireworks that are still to come in Bermuda and Abu Dhabi.
Current Maurice Lacroix World Rankings:
Flora Duffy vs. Georgia Taylor-Brown: title race going down to wire10:48 - 12 Oct, 2022
Yee battles cramp in Cagliari as gold keeps title hopes alive02:52 - 08 Oct, 2022
Bergere wears Cagliari no.1 as clock ticks on Yee’s title challenge01:50 - 04 Oct, 2022
Race to the top: breaking down the 2022 season so far10:24 - 03 Oct, 2022
Podcast #50 Alex Yee: The boy from Brockley who hit the heights in Tokyo02:58 - 07 Oct, 2021
Hayden Wilde: Maltese Falcon flying high to TokyoTokyo 2020 Olympic Games10:10 - 16 Jul, 2021
World Triathlon Podcast 32: Leo Bergere10:10 - 25 Mar, 2021