After three excellent golds from his three Series finishes so far this season, Alex Yee’s mission for Sunday’s 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Bermuda is crystal clear: finish on the podium, and first place in the Maurice Lacroix Rankings will be his, before this year’s men’s The World Champion is ultimately decided at the Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi.
With current leader Hayden Wilde not on the Bermuda start line, instead preferring to fix his attentions on the big finale in the UAE capital on November 26, Yee will know that opportunity knocks this weekend in a race that also sees the return of Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden in a location that they know well. It was here back in 2018 that they followed Casper Stornes across the line to complete the first ever sweep of a men’s podium by one nation, and to here that you can arguably trace back the Norwegian era as a triathlon superpower.
The 40km bike again packs in eight laps and eight accompanying climbs of the winding hill that can do so much damage over the latter stages of the 40km bike, especially if someone is prepared to roll the dice and push the pace out front.
That all comes after a tough 1500m Atlantic Ocean swim, likely non-wetsuit, the 100m-longer second lap veering left towards transition. Closing out the race off the bikes will be a 4-lap, 10km run for glory to the finish and the baying crowds along Front Street in the capital Hamilton.
As always, you can watch every minute of the action live and direct from Bermuda over on TriathlonLive.tv with coverage starting at 10.45am local time.
Series leader in the balance
So while Blummenfelt and Iden are back on the blue carpet after their own incredible years over longer distances, in the context of this year’s World Championship title, all eyes will be on Britain’s Alex Yee.
Still chasing current leader Wilde after missing out on points in Leeds and Hamburg, Yee’s three finishes to date this season have all brought him the maximum 1000. Golds in WTCS Yokohama, WTCS Montreal and most recently WTCS Cagliari set him on course for a potential first world title, and the Brit knows that a medal of any color in Bermuda will see him leapfrog Wilde into the top spot before their decisive showdown.
Cramps on the run in that last outing were a cause for concern as the 24-year-old battled through the pain for nearly 5km, and no doubt there will have been plenty of team analysis since to determine exactly what occurred and why, in order to give him every chance of a trouble-free medal hunt on Sunday.
Geens bouncing back from tough 2021
Wearing the number one and also in the chase for a debut Series podium is Belgium’s Jelle Geens. Beset by bad luck for much of a 2021 that saw him miss out on Tokyo 2020, the 29-year-old swooped to gold in Abu Dhabi last year and has since grabbed top 10s in Leeds, Montreal and Hamburg to sit third in the Maurice Lacroix Rankings. Always a fast finisher, Geens will need an equally impressive swim if he is to realize his podium potential here.
Back to the Norwegian pair of Iden and Blummenfelt, hugely impressive Ironman and 70.3 World Championship titles in recent weeks have clearly been the main focuses of their respective years, but the attentions now begin to switch to Paris 2024. Iden’s two previous bronze medals here and Olympic Champion Blummenfelt’s silver should make this far more than a see-where-the-form-is for both athletes as they seek performances on which to build their next Olympic campaigns.
Vincent Luis starts for the first time since Hamburg after another tough year battling to get back to the big-race fitness and gold medal-harvesting prowess he showed in 2019 and 2020. Bermuda will be another almighty test of just where his race level is at as he prepares for another massive two years into Paris.
Deep podium potential
Morocco’s Jawad Abdelmoula will face one of the most demanding courses yet in his short but impressive WTCS career to date. Having burst onto the scene with Tongyeong World Cup gold in late 2021 and a first Series medal in Hamburg, it will be interesting to see how the 2022 Africa Triathlon Champion copes with Bermuda’s unique challenges.
He may have left the Americas Championship frustrated after pulling up on the run with illness, but Brazil’s Miguel Hidalgo continues his return to full fitness after an injury cut short the middle of his promising season, while the USA have a strong line up spearheaded by the resurgent Kevin McDowell and Matthew McElroy.
Jamie Riddle (RSA) brings his own fearless brand of attacking racing back to the triathlon front line, and Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk will want a good showing and to put a marker down after a season punctured by bad luck.
Spain’s Mario Mola and Antonio Serrat Seoane, Hungarian duo Csongor Lehmann and Bence Bicsak and Germany’s Lasse Luhrs could all have a major impact too on what looks set to be one of the most unpredictable races of an already rollercoaster season.
Men’s WTCS Bermuda
Sunday 6 November
11am local time
Full start list click here.