Top Irish triathletes Aileen Reid and Bryan Keane are set to race the Yokohama leg of the World Triathlon Series this weekend.
In previous years the Yokohama course has been infamous for its hot and humid conditions however this weekend may suit the Irish competitors with temperatures set to be a pleasant 20 degrees. The course consists of a 2 lap 1500m swim with competitors exiting onto a pontoon after 750 meters before diving in for the remaining 750 meters. It’s then onto a 9 lap, 40km bike leg with a host of 90 and 180 degree turns making it a testing route which will sap the energy out of competitor’s legs. Finally the 23 women and 39 men will tackle the flat and fast 4 lap, 10km run.
Aileen Reid in the women’s race is off first and faces stiff competition from the USA’s fast running Gwen Jorgensen who is the bookies favourite to take victory. 2 time World Champion and Beijing Bronze medallist, Emma Moffatt has also been in good form of late as has Aileen’s training mate Jodie Stimpson of Great Britain. Aileen’s early season form hasn’t been so hot thanks to a knee injury see picked up some months back. With a number of weeks consistent run training now under her belt Aileen’s run times have been improving with her clocking a 35min 45sec 10km in the San Diego leg of the World Triathlon Series 3 weeks ago. A further improvement in run form will see her better her 14th place finish here last year and challenge near the top of the field.
In the men’s race Bryan Keane will be thankful for the cooler water conditions which will likely result in a wetsuit swim, making his task of remaining in the lead pack out of the water that little bit easier. Bryan has been in scintillating form this season with a 4th place finish in Mooloolaba followed up by Ireland’s first men’s World Cup Podium when he took 2nd in Ishigaki. Fellow Irishman Conor Murphy who has also been climbing up the world rankings of late was due to be on the start line making it the first time Ireland had three representatives in the top league of racing. Unfortunately for Murphy he came down on a greasy corner in Ishigaki when he had a shot at a podium place and badly bruised his knee. He was forced to return home and give up his starting berth.
This weekend’s Yokohama race is set to feature most of the top names in men’s racing with Olympic bronze medallist Jonny Brownlee making his return to racing after an ankle injury. Last year’s winner Joao Silva is also in top form and goes into the race wearing number 1. Alongside him on the start pontoon is Spain’s Javier Gomez and the South African bike-run specialist Richard Murray.
Silva clocked 29mins 42seconds for 10km to win last year while the top 10 were all under 31min 30seconds pace so Keane will need a first pack swim, strong bike legs and a lightning fast run to claim the first World Series top 10 of his career.
The women’s race gets underway on the BBC Red button or triathlonlive.tv on Friday night at midnight with Aileen Reid wearing number 7 while the men’s race starts at 3am Saturday morning with Bryan Keane wearing number 27.