By Chelsea White on 19/04/16 at 8:15 am
A show-stopping start list of women head to Africa for the third stop of the ITU World Triathlon Series this weekend with the 2016 Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town. The South Africanl city will offer up a fast and furious sprint-distance course of the season as the women vie for more valuable Olympic qualification points as they tackle a one-lap swim, five-lap bike and two-lap run.
Flora Duffy (BER) is topping the women’s start list for the first time this year. With two fourth-place WTS finishes in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast, she has carried herself into second place in the women’s Columbia Threadneedle rankings. This weekend however is the perfect opportunity for her to finally get onto the podium this year. 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 she could just have a hometown advantage.
While Great Britain’s Jodie Stimpson didn’t produce the result she was hoping for in Gold Coast, she’s had a tremendous start to the season. She was victorious in the WTS opener in Abu Dhabi and then followed up her winning performance by winning again at the Mooloolaba World Cup. Like Duffy, she also trains in Stellenbosch and will enjoy a familiar environment in the South African city. Add in that Stimpson won here in 2014 and it could be the perfect podium-making recipe.
Stimpson will line up with compatriots Non Stanford and Vicky Holland, both of whom will start their season in Cape Town. The pair booked their tickets to Brazil last year, which afforded them the opportunity to schedule in some early year training in lieu of racing. Holland won her first WTS race in Cape Town last year, and Stanford has a proven winning record at the sprint distance. Look out for these two on the end of that 5km run come Sunday. To date, only British women have won in Cape Town. Can they keep the streak alive?
Competing to represent the host nation is South African Mari Rabie. She won the ATU African Championships earlier this year and has had stand-out performances this year with two top-20 WTS finishes and a fourth-place in the New Plymouth World Cup. She’s still gunning for her Olympic spot, and a speedy race will help keep her in the running for a ticket to Rio.
Her training partner, Lisa Norden (SWE) will be lining up alongside Rabie as well. While an illness caused her to take a DNF in Gold Coast, she has been inching closer to her Olympic medallist form with each race she enters. Likewise, don’t count out Sarah True (USA), who featured on the podium three times last year, as a threat in this fast and furious sprint race on Sunday.
The women will get the 2016 Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town underway at 14:00 on Sunday April 24, while the men will follow at 16:30 local time. Follow all of the action live at triathlonlive.tv and on twitter @triathlonlive. Trifecta returns this year with new features. Create a new login and pick your favourites now at trifecta.usatriathlon.org.
Join the conversation with the hashtags #WTSCapeTown and #CTrankings.
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