By Doug Gray on 21/06/19 at 1:48 pm
Sunday afternoon sees the return of the Antwerp World Cup, the ninth stop on the 2019 circuit and one that has quickly established itself as a firm favourite for the athletes and fans. The swim has echoes of WTS Hamburg as it passes under the spectator-filled bridge, the tricky 20km bike is cobbled for more than half of its length and the run reaches its conclusion in front of the iconic Museum aan de Stroom - ticking all the boxes for a true test of some of the best in the business.
Among them will be New Zealanders Hayden Wilde and Tayler Reid, both going into the race with unfinished Belgian business to take care of. Wilde’s bike issues left him off the pace early on in the 20km while Reid was pipped at the line by Belgium’s own Jelle Greens in a dramatic sprint finish. Renee Tomlin is ready to go back on the attack with fitness levels higher than they were going in to last year, and Valerie Barthelemy has delivered some strong sprint finishes of her own this year, the one missing piece from her otherwise flawless race here 12 months ago.
The action gets underway with the men taking to the start line at 15.30CET, followed by the women at 17.45CET. You can once again watch all of the action as it unfolds, only on TriathlonLIVE.tv
Home favourite Valerie Barthelemy (BEL) will want to prove a point in front of her fans as she continues a remarkable comeback from a training injury that kept her out for six weeks:
“It was just one of those things, we were on a ride and coming to a roundabout going pretty slowly when I clipped the wheel in front and came off. That fracture put me out for six weeks but i’m a positive person and I was relieved that the injury had a definitive timespan to it at least. Since then i’ve been working on that run and after edging out the other girls to get bronze in Chengdu and Cagliari it would be great to do something like that here.”
Renee Tomlin (USA) admits she wasn’t quite ready to race the 2018 Antwerp World Cup, but that will simply fuel her determination this time around:
“Last year I was coming off a bit of an injury and testing where I was but I ended up re-injuring myself and was kept out of racing until September. I had a couple of World Cups at the end of the year then shut it down until 2019 which has already been a bit of a rollercoaster so far but i’ve got a great team back home and I know that we are going to be able to figure it out and get some more consistency. It is good to be back. I find it comfortable here and it’s really cool to just experience the culture. I think it’s going to be another good battle and I want to see what my body is capable of here. Valerie has been great helping me out with tips on where to ride so I’m feeling really ready.”
New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde wears the number one in the men’s race and is feeling in good form after a busy 2019 so far:
“I had a bit of bad luck last year when my gearings snapped off 200m into the bike which left me in a very fast gear for the whole ride like a gerbil in a wheel. It was really frustrating having to slowly watch the race disappear from me so I’ll be looking for a bit of redemption this year. It’s my first season on the WTS circuit this year and it’s nice to be back in Europe - it’s a flat one out there but the cobbles make it difficult and the spectators are great, so i’m really looking forward to it and hope I can get that medal I missed out on last year.”
Tayler Reid competed alongside Wilde at the Nottingham Mixed Relay just a week ago and will be ready to deliver a trademark strong swim to get himself into an attacking position:
“It’s motivating looking back at what happened here last year and I got a message from Jelle the other day reminding me not to go so early this year, so I think i’d better take that on board. I saw the blue carpet and just went for it, but then turned the corner and saw we still had 200m to go, so hopefully i’ll get that sorted this year. I had one of my best results here so its a big push to go one better.”
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Find more details about this event - 2019 Antwerp ITU Triathlon World Cup