The northern Spanish city of Pontevedra is ready once again for the famous World Triathlon blue carpet, when it welcomes some of the fastest triathletes in the world for Sunday’s 2022 World Triathlon Cup Pontevedra. The event, part of the Olympic qualification period, will also serve as an appetizer for what is to come in 2023, when the Galician city hosts the World Triathlon Championship Series Final.
Pontevedra has a long association with triathlon. Hometown of five-time world champion Javier Gomez Noya and host of the European Championships in 2011 and the Multisports Festival in 2019, the races this year will be over the Olympic distance format: 1500m of swimming in the river, followed by 40km bike to finish with a 10km run in the heart of the city, and you can watch all the action as it happens on TriathlonLive.tv.
With Gomez Noya retired from World Triathlon racing, it seems only natural that one of the “heirs” to the Spanish throne, Antonio Serrat Seoane, wears the number one on Sunday. Born in Vigo, only a few kilometers away from the venue, he knows well not only the course, but also the weather conditions and the tides that affect the River Lerez.
Serrat, currently training in Pontevedra with Gomez, has had a great start of the season, with a 5th place at WTCS Abu Dhabi and 9th at WTCS Leeds, enough to keep him currently in the 7th place in the Maurice Lacroix Championship Series Rankings. He will be leading a strong and fast Spanish team, including Sergio Baxter Cabrera – 5th in the Huatulco World Cup and winner of the Europe Triathlon Premium Cup in Holten – and Genis Grau, eager to have another great performance after his victory in Huatulco.
Another sensation this season who will be lining up in Pontevedra is Jawad Abdelmoula, the young Moroccan athlete that stormed the field in Hamburg to claim the bronze and a first ever WTCS podium for his country. He has proven to be an athlete to watch in sprint and super-sprint distance races, and now is the time to prove if he has also the legs to perform over the Olympic distance.
Abdelmoula is one of the newest additions to the ASICS World Triathlon Team, that will present in Pontevedra a strong squad including also Diego Moya (CHI), Badr Siwane (MAR) and Henry Räppo (EST).
The flat and technical Pontevedra bike course should suit athletes like Jonas Schomburg (GER), always trying to make an impact in the race and break away from large packs, or Paul Georgenthum and Valentin Morlec (FRA), both excellent bikers.
Also training for a week in Pontevedra alongside the legend Gomez Noya has been Chase McQueen (USA), looking forward to getting some good Olympic points this weekend after a quiet start to the year.
Barclay Izzard (GBR), Max Studer (SUI) and Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX) are some of the names that should be considered among those likely to be fighting for the top positions, especially if a large pack hits the second transition together.
Germany’s women have proven to be the ones to beat lately in World Cup races, and they are sending a powerful squad to Pontevedra to target a full podium sweep, unless the likes of the Spanish or French can prevent it.
Olympian and Mixed Relay Leeds winner Anabel Knoll has had a great season so far, finishing 7th in WTCS Yokohama, 8th in Leeds and 6th in Hamburg, but she has yet to step on a World Cup podium, and Pontevedra seems like a perfect place for her to do so. Strong on the bike and great runner, flat courses like the one in the Galicean city suit her really well, and having other strong German girls in there with her can surely only help her to perform on the day.
Talking about someone that knows how to perform on the day, Lisa Terstch is the young German who finished in third place in WTCS Hamburg two weeks ago, and looks to be in great running form. The same can be said for Lena Meißner, so expect the Germans to continue their momentum in Pontevedra.
Miriam Casillas Garcia (ESP) will be leading the Spanish team this Sunday. Another excellent runner, she has been training lately in Portugal and is quite used to the weather conditions that we can expect in Pontevedra, and this could play in her favor. Alongside her will be Anna Godoy Contreras (ESP), Marta Pintanel Raymundo (ESP), Sara Guerrero Manso (ESP) and Noelia Juan (ESP). With the Spanish women not ranked so high, it will be vital for them to get some valuable Olympic points to guarantee that they can at least have two women amongst the eligible athletes for the Olympics.
Sandra Dodet (FRA) is known for her great World Cup performances and along with Lea Coninx (FRA) they are two of the most powerful athletes both on the bike and run segments, who will surely be looking for extending her dominancy at this level of events.
After her great performance at the Hamburg Mixed Relay, Kate Waugh is another athlete that seems to be perfectly shaped for a course like the one in Pontevedra. Her GB teammates Sophie Alden and Iona Miller have produced solid results recently in European Cups and are always tough athletes to beat when it comes to Olympic distance races.
Fast swimmers like Erika Ackerlund (USA), Emma Jeffcoat (AUS) and Jaz Hedgeland (AUS) are always names to be considered to follow, as is Yuko Takahashi (JPN) if she has a good day on the swim.
Another fast swimmer is ASICS World Triathlon Team member Edda Hannesdottir (ISL), who will be accompanied in Pontevedra by the development squad teammates Macarena Salazar (CHI) and Romana Gajdošová (SVK).