WTS Gold Coast victor and current leader of the WTS rankings, Britain’s Helen Jenkins, won’t be competing but her Rio team mates Non Stanford and Vicky Holland will be there, along with Jodie Stimpson, whose disappointing run in Australia ruled her out of a place on the British team. Holland won her first WTS race in Cape Town last year, and Stanford has a proven winning record at the sprint distance.
Last year Holland finished ahead of Katie Zaferes (USA) and Olympic Champion, Nicola Spirig (SUI) in a thrilling tight finish exactly a year ago.
She said: “This was the race that gave me the confidence to believe I could aim for the top of the podium, it was quite a break through last year, so it’s great to be back. This year it’s a sprint rather than Olympic distance, and my first race of the season, so it’s quite different, but I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
The line up also includes Flora Duffy (BER), second on the WTS rankings thanks to her two fourth-place WTS finishes in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast, who will be hopeful of a podium finish.
As one of the best cyclists in the field, in Gold Coast Duffy successfully led a breakaway of three away from the lead pack that allowed a healthy advantage going into the second transition zone. South Africa is a familiar setting for Duffy, as she trains down the road in Stellenbosch for much of the year, meaning Missing from the line up is Gwen Jorgensen
Full women’s start list
Meanwhile the question in the men’s race is can Mario Mola keep up his unbeatable run and make it three in a row at WTS Cape Town in South Africa this weekend? The South African city is offering up the first sprint-distance course of the season as the men vie for more valuable Olympic qualification points as they tackle a one-lap swim, five-lap bike and two-lap run.
Joining Mola is fellow Spaniard Fernando Alarza who joined Mola on the Gold Coast podium by capturing the silver in the final lap of the run. He also just missed the podium in Abu Dhabi with his fourth-place finish.
Hoping to beat Mola will be Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee, however he won’t be joined by his brother Alistair as still has not recovered from a virus and unfortunately won’t be able to defend his 2015 victory in Cape Town. Jonny will be joined by fellow Brit Adam Bowden.