As we have previously reported, the second rescheduled World Cup of the 2020 World Triathlon season gets underway in Italy on Saturday, and there is another hatful of big names heading to Sardinia to tackle a beautiful, brand-new Arzachena course.
Four World Champions past and present feature, Flora Duffy and Katie Zaferes among those ready to challenge in the morningís Womenís race, before Vincent Luis and Alistair Brownlee join the men taking to the start line at the other end of the island where the Brit won in 2019.
Itís another sprint-distance affair, and a beach-start gets the 750m swim underway ahead of a 20km bike with one major climb and descent on each of the three laps to really test the riders
First into the water will be the Elite women, with the 2019 World Champion Katie Zaferes wearing the number one and looking to land a first podium of the year. A 5th-place finish at WTS Hamburg was followed by 11th in Karlovy Vary a month ago, and the American will want to wrap up 2020 with the kind of crisp performance that was the hallmark of her title-winning season last year.
Like Zaferes, Duffy will no doubt view the bike climb more as an opportunity than an obstacle after she tore up the testing Karlovy Vary ride on the way to gold. Now back to full fitness, the Bermudian has clearly been loving her racing and has to be among the favorites again this weekend.
In the Menís race all eyes will be on race number one Vincent Luis as he looks to make it three wins from three after the return to racing and send out yet another massive statement to the rest of the menís field ahead of next yearís Tokyo Olympics. The Frenchman has been in incredible form to lead from the front in both WTS Hamburg and Karlovy Vary, but a quick scan of some of the names likely to be going just as hard in Sardinia suggests he may not have things all his own way on Saturday afternoon.
That list once again includes Henri Schoeman, the South African making his long-awaited first start of the year. The Olympic bronze medallist will be eager to find out exactly where his race fitness is after a prolonged absence from the action, starting with a 750m swim that has been his hallmark over recent seasons and offers an immediate chance to test the likes of Luis in the water.
The Menís race will also feature Tyler Smith.