World Triathlon Chicago 2015 preview: who’s racing?

With so many races happening in Chicago over the next few days, it’s easy to lose track of the big stories. Which is where we come in – we’re covering all the action live from Windy City, and will give you all the key news as it happens.

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>>> 2015 World Triathlon Chicago schedule – what’s happening, and when?

So here’s our rundown of the names and events to watch out for….

Under23 Preview

The men’s and women’s Under23 World Championship start lists are overflowing with talent that have already been making headlines amongst the elites this year. The U23 athletes will compete on the same standard distance course as the elites, with the men taking off on Thursday, while the women race on Friday in Chicago. 

Britain is putting a lot of talent into the field with Baku European Games winner Gordon Benson lining up next to Marc Austin. Wian Sullwald will be representing South Africa after winning the 2012 Junior World Championship title.

On the women’s side, expect France’s Audrey Merle to feature as she took bronze in the women’s Junior World Championship last year and gained valuable international experience at the elite level as a member of the gold medal winning Mixed Relay World Championship team earlier this year.

Junior preview

Our future Junior triathlon stars will feature on the first day of triathlon racing later today (Thursday 17th September), with the men and Friday with the women racing for glory over the sprint distance course 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

What makes the junior field a must-watch competition is the vast representation from across the globe that will be going head-to-head on the course. Countries that are showing an up-and-coming growth for the sport are bringing their best to vie for a title.

Paratriathlon preview

The world of paratriathlon has been more exciting than ever, with just under a year to go until the sport makes its debut in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.

Competition has been high and some elites have shown this year that they will be the names to look out for as the countdown continues to next summer, in which men’s PT1,2,4 and women’s PT2,4,5 will show the planet what the sport is made of.

Bill Chaffey (AUS) also drives for five world titles in the men’s PT1 while Lauren Steadman (GBR) pushes to continue her undefeated season.

Elite Women’s preview

The women’s ITU World Championship title will be decided in a heated battle on Friday at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago with only 300 points separating the first two women – both Americans. Gwen Jorgensen (USA) returns to retain her reign as the world’s fastest female triathlete, and will do so in front of practically a home crowd as she hails from nearby Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

While she’s the heavy favourite, having gone undefeated in the last 11 WTS races, it’s her own compatriots that could stand in her way, as Katie Zaferes (USA) is her strongest competition at second in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings with Sarah True (USA) third.

Javier Gomez, Gwen Jorgensen and Mario Mola

Elite Men’s preview

The race for the men’s elite World Championship title is one of the closest to be contested since the start of the ITU World Triathlon Series, with only 530 points separating the top four men in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings.  

The final race of the four-day Grand Final, Spaniards Javier Gomez Noya and Mario Mola will line up as the men to beat, followed by France’s Vincent Luis and South Africa’s Richard Murray on Saturday in Chicago. This week in Chicago, Gomez could become the first athlete to win five Olympic distance World Championship titles.  

Jonny Brownlee (GBR) is also back from injury and while he’s out of the World Championship contest, he could become the third male to win a Grand Final race after just his brother Alistair and Gomez.

(Images: Delly Carr / ITU)

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