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Brasilia ready to host first World Triathlon Cup with Hidalgo and Messias eyeing glory

Brasilia ready to host first World Triathlon Cup with Hidalgo and Messias eyeing glory

For the first time since Rio de Janeiro in 2004, Brazil is gearing up to host World Triathlon Cup action this weekend, coming live and direct from the capital Brasilia. The administrative centre in the country’s geographic heart, its iconic Juscelino Kubitschek bridge and the Paranoa Lake it traverses will be the setting for the sprint-distance racing on Sunday, and the start lists are stacked in the penultimate month of World Cup action in 2023.

The course starts with a one-lap 1500m swim passing under the bridge twice, then the bike snakes round the bridge access to take in two long straights up and over its span six times for the 40km. Out of T2 it’s back onto the bridge for three run laps and 10km in total to the tape, and you can watch full coverage of the men’s race from 10am local time on TriathlonLive.tv.

#1 Serrat chases positive season closer

Wearing the one will be Spain’s Antonio Serrate Seoane, the 28-year-old who looked the natural heir to the Mola-Gomez throne but now is hungry to recapture his form of 2021, when he sat at number one in the world for a couple of stops in the Series.

After kicking to his first WTCS podium in Bermuda near the end of 2022 it looked like this could be his year, but the top-end speed hasn’t quite been flowing this campaign. Disappointing results in the Paris Test Event and Pontevedra Championship Finals hinged on Serrat being unable to claw his way back into contention after the swim, and this certainly won’t be an easy Olympic distance one-lapper in the water with no-wetsuits likely to be enforced.

Brazilian bullet train pulls in

The Brazilian power couple is Miguel Hidalgo and Manoel Messias, two different profiles, two very strong medal contenders for the host nation. Hidalgo is still just 23 but burst onto the scene with World Cup bronze in the Huatulco heat of 2021, a result he repeated last year after scoring a career-best WTCS 6th in Leeds; strong outcomes in two very different environments that underlined his versatility and adaptability, always based off a strong swim.

The first Series podium that has eluded Hidalgo to date was scooped by Manoel Messias in Cagliari last year with bronze and again in Abu Dhabi, silver in Montreal showing the incredible run speed that is his signature. Likely to be at the opposite end of the pack to Hidalgo out of the Lake, that hasn’t stopped him scoring multiple World Cup golds and Pan American Games and continental titles, and the heat and straightforward course could be right up Messias’ street.

Moya and Castro back in battle

Diego Moya is another South American talent who will likely spearhead the swim and need to deliver a strong bike to give enough daylight to hold off the Brazilian charge out of T2. A bold solo charge in Vina Del Mar late last year almost saw the 25-year-old take his first World Cup gold, only for Spaniard David Castro Fajardo to pick him off late on.

Castro will also go again on Sunday, hoping to bring a difficult second half of the season to an end on a positive note. The European Champion followed that title in June with a World Cup win in Huatulco but has struggled since to find that devastating run form in the tricky confines of Paris, Pontevedra and most recently Rome.

South American powerhouses

Expect the likes of Antonio Bravo Neto (BRA), Crisanto Grajales (MEX) and Rodrigo Gonzalez (MEX) to rise to the occasion of a World Cup on their continent, and the World Triathlon development team is also packed with talent from the region; Ramon Armando Matute Alava (ECU), Alvaro Campos Solano (CRC), Gabriel Teran Carvajal (ECU) line up along with Diego Moya.

Barbados’ Matthew Wright is currently in pole position for the Americas’ New Flag Paris 2024 slot after a fine run to return to the squad, and Vitalii Vorontsov also starts as a packed year comes to a close for the Ukrainian, including an Arena Games debut in London.

For the full line up, click here.

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