Olympic medal winners Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee return to the streets of their home town this Sunday at the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds.
elite, amateur, junior and novice triathletes will compete during the weekend, 10-11 June, with the elite races being televised live by the BBC in front of an expected crowd of over 80,000 people.
The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds marks the fourth of nine rounds of the ITU World Triathlon Series. The elite races feature a 1500m swim at Roundhay Park, followed by a 38.6km cycle ride into and around the city, and a 10km run finishing on the blue carpet in Millennium Square.
Last year, the race was famously won by Alistair Brownlee in front of a packed grandstand of spectators. Women’s race winner and 2016 world champion, Flora Duffy of Bermuda, is also returning to Leeds after athletes widely praised the event as one of the best supported races they’d ever taken part in.
Brownlee said: “I’m obviously really looking for to racing in Leeds, I couldn’t miss my home race. The atmosphere in the crowds in the city centre was magical last year, so hopefully there will be even more people turn out this year, and they’ll shout even louder.”
Jonathan Brownlee, who was second last year, added: “I’ve had a bit of an unlucky start to the year, but if I want to do well in the Series I have to do well in Leeds. So hopefully it will start well on Sunday, and hopefully I can finally beat Alistair in a big race.”
Tom Bishop could be another factor in the men’s race having finished second in the opening round in Abu Dhabi in March. Gordon Benson, Adam Bowden and Scots, Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon complete the British male line up.
Leeds-based Non Stanford finished fourth in Rio last summer and represents arguably Britain’s biggest challenge to ITU world champion, Duffy. However, it was super-fast swimmers and cyclists, Jess Learmonth and Lucy Hall who made the best start with Duffy last year. They are back this year along with ETU Triathlon European Champion, India Lee and recent ITU World Cup winner, Georgia Taylor-Brown.
The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will also welcome thousands of amateur triathletes to the city. The chance to take on the triathlon challenge ahead of the world’s best has also attracted some of Team GB’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes. Double Olympic freestyle medalist from Rio, Jazz Carlin, London 2012 Olympian, Jess Varnish and paratriathlon (PT4), silver medal winner Lauren Steadman have joined forces to form the Columbia Threadneedle Investments Triathlon Dreamteam taking part in the sprint relay event on Sunday.
The elite women dive into Waterloo Lake to start the race just after 1pm on Sunday, followed by the men’s race at 3:51pm. Both races are free to view on the streets of Leeds, within the Event Village at Roundhay Park and at big screens located around the city-centre. There are a small number of Grandstand tickets still available online here. Both races will be live on BBC Two from 1pm.
Rupert Pybus, Global Head of Brand and Marketing at Columbia Threadneedle Investments said “We are very pleased to continue to be title sponsor of this excellent weekend of triathlon. The Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds provides recreational triathletes with a fantastic opportunity to compete on the same course as the world’s best and we wish all competitors every success.”
"Everything is set for one of the most exciting ITU World Triathlon Series races of the season..."
Jack Buckner, Chief Executive of event organisers, British Triathlon said: “I am delighted to welcome thousands of amateur triathletes and, of course, the world’s best to Leeds this weekend. Everything is set for one of the most exciting ITU World Triathlon Series races of the season and British Triathlon wants the whole city to come out in force to recreate the amazing atmosphere we had in 2016.”
Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake, said:
“To see artwork of the sport’s greatest athletes adorning the front of our town Hall and across the city centre has really brought home how exciting it is to welcome back the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds.
"Last year’s event was a truly unbelievable occasion..."
“Last year’s event was a truly unbelievable occasion, and I know that the support which triathletes of all abilities - from amateur to elites - received from spectators in our city was for many, right up there as the best they had ever experienced. Over this weekend, all of the triathletes that are competing can again be guaranteed of a really warm Yorkshire welcome in Leeds.”
UK Sport Chief Operating Officer Simon Morton said: “We are delighted the ITU World Triathlon Series is returning to Leeds following a fantastic event last year.
“The world’s best triathletes are scheduled to compete and it is particularly special to have Olympic stars Alistair and Jonny Brownlee back racing in front of passionate home crowd, who will create an amazing atmosphere.
“As we build toward Tokyo 2020, we are proud the ITU World Triathlon Series is part of our package of international sporting events, backed by National Lottery funding, we are staging in the UK.”
Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC member, said: “We are thrilled to be coming back to Leeds for the second time. This city breathes triathlon, and atmosphere is always amazing. I’m sure that our athletes will put in place a fantastic show this Sunday. I encourage people to come and enjoy live in Leeds one of the best races of the year”
The 2017 Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds is supported by National Lottery funding and organised by British Triathlon, in partnership with Leeds City Council, UK Sport and the ITU.