Yee and Wilde ready for a running battle at WTCS Cagliari
The World Triathlon Championship circuit returns this weekend to Italy, where reigning world and Olympic champions will be competing for the first points of the second period of Olympic Qualification in the picturesque location of Cagliari’s Poetto beach. A full start list of 55 men are ready to rock at the WTCS Cagliari, with stacked start lists that include a battle for the records amongst some of the new stars of the circuit and a handful of old time classics.
Cagliari offers a beach start, and usually a wavy one, so get ready for some dolphin dives to start the race. Athletes will face a 1500m swim over two laps, potentially wearing swimsuits, to then face a flat and technical bike course of 10 laps, finishing in style with a flat 10km run along the incredible beach.
Wearing number 1 - and this time, golden - will be the new World Triathlon Championship Series Ranking leader, Portugal’s Vasco Vilaca. The young Portuguese seems to be in a great peak after switching training groups and relocating to Girona, but is still missing that first place in a Series race, which will be goal number one for Vilaca this weekend.
But the course in Cagliari is perfect for fast and furious runners, and the start list is absolutely full of them. The first two to watch will indeed be Alex Yee (GBR) and Hayden Wilde (NZL). The Brit is returning to the Series after a dominant win in the first stop of the circuit in 2023, Abu Dhabi, and focusing on a long training block afterwards, skipping WTCS Yokohama two weeks ago. On the other hand, Wilde had a magnificent run in the Japanese Olympic distance circuit a mere 15 days ago, and seems to be one really hard to beat when it comes to a 10k run. Yee ran a 29.24 in the Abu Dhabi Finals last November, while Wilde had a run split of 29.30 in Yokohama. The battle is going to be epic!
But they won’t be alone, of course. Vilaca also had a fantastic run split in Yokohama 2023, stopping the clock at 29.24, almost 40 seconds faster than another great runner, the Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), who is still testing the waters on his return to the short course racing.
To add a bit of spice to the mix, two of the fastest runners and more laureated athletes ever, Jonathan Brownlee (GBR) and Mario Mola (ESP) are making their returns to the Series in Cagliari this weekend. Mario has not been able to race on the Series this year due to his low rankings, but has proven to have legs for running claiming the World Triathlon Duathlon Championships a few weeks ago in Ibiza.
Cagliari has also a great array of fantastic swimmers that will look to make an impact on the race from the early stages, like Henri Schoeman (RSA), Jamie Riddle (RSA), Mark Devay (HUN), Dorian Coninx (FRA), Leo Bergere (FRA) and Kenji Nener (JPN). If they can open a bit of space, they will make it even harder for the fast runners.