Welcome back Non! Britain’s 2013 World Triathlon Series winner makes her long-awaited return to competitive racing at WTS Yokohama this weekend, facing up against current series leader Gwen Jorgensen, while in the men’s race a resurgent Alistair Brownlee will go head-to-head with Spanish duo Javier Gomez and Mario Mola.
Non Stanford was forced to sit out the 2014 season due to injury, but left the ITU circuit on a high as she beat Jorgensen for the 2013 World Championship title in front of a home crowd in London’s Hyde Park. Stanford is one of the few women that can rival Jorgensen down the finish chute, making their meeting highly anticipated.
Jorgensen has been simply unstoppable this season so far, and is undefeated since her victory in Yokohama last year. The only other British athlete on the start line will be Heather Sellars, with Vicky Holland having a rest after her impressive victory in Cape Town.
Jorgensen’s teammates Katie Zaferes and Sarah True will also miss this race, but Americans Chelsea Burns, Jessica Broderick and Renee Tomlin will look to keep the US winning streak alive. Other rivals include Emma Moffatt (AUS), Andrea Hewitt (NZL) and Barbara Riveros (CHI).
The women’s race will get underway at 10:05am local time (2:05am UK time) on Saturday (16 May), full start list here.
Americans currently dominate the WTS leaderboard, with Zaferes top on 2905 points, followed by Jorgensen with 2400pts and True third with 1947pts. The highest-ranked British athlete is Vicky Holland in 17th position with 800pts.
Alistair Brownlee is looking to make up for lost time after injury and currently stands in 16th position with 800 points, all of which he gained at WTS Cape Town a few weeks ago.
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Younger brother Jonathan (2186pts) won’t be racing this Saturday, meaning that Alistair’s main rivals will be the Spanish trio of Javier Gomez (2707pts), Mario Mola (2273pts) and Fernando Alarza (2221pts).
Others in the top-10 on Saturday include Brits Tom Bishop and Adam Bowden, and some lesser known names looking to break through like Crisanto Grajales (MEX), who has posted two top-10 results already this season.
Ryan Bailie (AUS) posted a career high fifth in Auckland and has raced consistently this season. Portugal’s ITU veteran Joao Pereira (1175pts) will also be racing.
The men will get underway at 13:05pm local time (5:05am UK time), full start list here. Brits can watch the action live on BT Sport 2 or triathlonlive.tv (£), and there will be repeats on BBC Two from 4:30pm on Sunday 17th.
We’ll be carrying full reports of both races right here on the 220 website shortly afterwards.
(Images: Delly Carr / Janos Schmidt / ITU)
Who do you think will win this WTS Yokohama? Let us know in the comments below!