This weekend marks the 3rd stop on the 2016 ITU World Triathlon Series Tour, as racers touch down in Cape Town, South Africa. Athletes now have less than a month to qualify for the Olympics, which means there is little time left to rack up points for Brazil. Cape Town represents the penultimate WTS race to secure Olympic qualification points, and the start lists certainly prove how heated the battle to book tickets to Rio has become. To keep things interesting, WTS has selected 2 men and 2 women from the start lists that have proven to be tough competitors. Who will be victorious in this head-to-head showdown?
Flora Duffy vs. Sarah True
2015 was a standout year for Bermuda’s two-time Olympian, Flora Duffy. Finishing the season ranked seventh in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, Flora also earned her first career World Triathlon Series podium finishes in Abu Dhabi (third) and Edmonton (second). With back-to-back fourth place finishes in the first two events of 2016, Flora is in fine form and currently ranked second. She will aim to extend her medal collection over the Sprint distance in Cape Town and return to the podium once again.
With overall Silver (2014) and Bronze (2015) in the season ending Columbia Threadneedle Rankings over the last two years, Sarah True is a proven performer. With Olympic Games selection already achieved, Sarah will be looking for Cape Town to kick-start her 2016 campaign after frustrating races in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast. Fourth at the London 2012 Olympics, expect True to bounce back to form very soon as she continues her drive towards an Olympic podium in Rio.
Henri Schoeman vs. Richard Varga
For our men’s head-to-head, we have selected two of the finest swimmers we’ve seen in the sport for many years.
Two years ago in Cape Town, Henri and Richard headed out the field in the opening 1.5km swim, recording identical times. Just two weeks ago in Gold Coast, they did exactly the same again. However, to acknowledge these fine athletes as ‘swimmers’ would be to underestimate their wider multisport talents.
Henri Schoeman has finished in the top ten in World Triathlon Series events six times, with career-best fourth place finishes in Kitzbuhel (2013) and Stockholm (2015). A winner on the ITU World Cup circuit, he also won Commonwealth Games Silver as a member of the South African 4x Mixed Relay team in Glasgow.
Richard Varga has cracked the WTS top ten on three occasions as well as winning the ITU Aquathlon World Championships no less than four times.
This pairing was separated by just nine seconds at the finish line in Australia two weeks ago. Who will win the head-to head this time around?