By Courtney Akrigg on 13/09/18 at 4:00 am
Before the world turns the attentions to the elite men’s and women’s Grand Final races, Friday sees the Under 23 fields contest World Championship honours at the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast.
Leo Bergere from France is positioned at the top of the men’s start list followed by Hungary’s Bence Bicsak and Spain’s Antonio Serrat Seonane, while on the women’s side it’s France again placed at the top of the start list, with Cassandre Beaugrand leading in as a firm pre-race favourite. The medals are up for the taking with USA’s Taylor Knibb and New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay on the quest for World title status.
The U23 fields will contest over a two lap 1500-metre swim, 8 lap 40-kilometre bike and four lap 10-kilometre run Olympic distance race course. The women will be first to line-up on Friday, 14 September at 10.00am local time start time, followed by the men at 12.45pm local time. Race coverage will be streamed via triathlonlive.tv/goldcoast and on the World Triathlon Facebook page, along with race updates on Twitter @triathlonlive.
The men’s field is stacked with a combination of experience and emerging talent.
At the top of the start list is Frenchman Leo Bergere. The 2018 European Champion placed seventh in the recent Lausanne ITU World Cup and tenth in the ITU World Triathlon Hamburg in a world-class field. In 2017, Bergere lined up to contest the World Triathlon Grand Final Under 23 race and crossed the line in sixth position, so the young Frenchman will have his focus to make it on the podium in 2018.
Hungary’s Bence Bicsak is another top contender for the U23 title and will prove hot competition for Bergere. Bicsak has had a strong season, finishing top 10 in both ITU World Triathlon Montreal and Lausanne ITU Triathlon World Cup.
Spain’s Antonio Serrat Seonane and Germany’s Lasse Luehrs will also be among the main contenders toeing the line for the U23 showdown on the Gold Coast.
Charles Paquet from Canada will line up for the honours and will no doubt be motivated to make a move and mix things up in the U23 men’s race. Paquet is a strong all-round triathlete.
Australia’s Brandon Copeland and Luke Burns will be looking to produce world class performances on home soil and will certainly be in the mix for podium contention. Copeland is emerging young talent and topped the podium at the 2018 Taizhou Triathlon Asian Cup earlier this year.
The field is stacked and the title could be any mans for the taking with the likes of emerging talent from France, Hungary, Spain, New Zealand, Canada, USA and Australia well placed in the battle line-up.
Cassandre Beaugrand from France leads the elite U23 women’s field in as the pre-race favourite. Beaugrand has had a stellar season, claiming gold at ITU World Triathlon Hamburg in a superb elite women’s field and triumph for Team France in the ITU World Triathlon Hamburg Mixed Relay World Championships.
USA’s Taylor Knibb and New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay will be on the charge for the World title.
Knibb recently placed top 10 in ITU World Triathlon Montreal while Van Der Kaay has displayed consistent form all season, including a top 10 finish in ITU World Triathlon Leeds.
Australia’s Kira Hedgeland will be relying on the home crowd support to keep her well positioned with the race leaders.
AG, Junior, U23, and Para races will be streamed for free to https://triathlonlive.tv/goldcoast and to the World Triathlon Facebook page.
Find more details about this event - 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast