Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 03:12 AM GMT
This weekend will see the Bahrain Endurance 13 racing in three different parts of the world: World Triathlon Series Hamburg in Germany, Helvellyn Triathlon in the United Kingdom, and the Bribie Island Triathlon in Australia.
Defending world champion Vincent Luis, 2018 champion Vicky Holland, and winner of last year’s grand final Kristian Blummenfelt are on the start list at WTS Hamburg, which doubles as this year’s triathlon world championship. The only race in the series to be staged this year, and will mark the first time since 2008 that the world championship will be won in a single-day race, and the first time in history that this will be done over the sprint distance.
Holland brings things into perspective. She says, “It’s obviously been a bizarre year for us all, but I am appreciative that I have another triathlon in the calendar this year and I’m definitely looking forward to racing again in Hamburg. They have done a great job to make sure this event can go ahead in a safe environment and I’m really grateful to be heading to a start line once again. With it being such short notice as a ‘World Championships’ - and with several nations unable to attend - I won’t be worrying too much about that, but will of course give my best on the day.”
Blummenfelt is of the same mindset. “It’s awesome to be back racing the WTS, and now the ITU have made Hamburg the 2020 World Championships this makes it even bigger.”
Luis has no plans of relinquishing the world title this year. He says, “I’m ready to race. I’ve spent six weeks at altitude looking forward to racing in Hamburg, and I’m not going to let this world title slip away from me that easily.”
Meanwhile, Alistair Brownlee will make his return to racing at the Helvellyn Triathlon, known as one of the toughest triathlon challenges in the United Kingdom. He last raced this mountainous course in 2007, breaking the course record. This time, he returns for a chance at a boosted payday: the Professional Triathletes Organisation have earmarked a $15,000 prize purse awarded all the way down to 10th place.
He says, “It is a tribute to the PTO’s mission for supporting athletes and the triathlon community that PTO professionals in different regions have been able to come together to work with local organisers.”
Ashleigh Gentle rounds out the Bahrain Endurance 13 team members racing this weekend as she takes on the Bribie Island Triathlon in Queensland, Australia. The event has a 36-year history, and with international racing off the cards for many Australian athletes for now, Gentle will be raring to pin on a number and get on a starting line.