TRIATHLON Preview: Zaferes and Luis looking to wrap up season titles in Lausanne World Series finale

An ITU World Series title coming for American Katie Zaferes? (Photo: ITU)

The final stop on the 2019 World Triathlon Series tour in Lausanne (SUI) could mean the first-ever seasonal titles for France’s Vincent Luis and American Katie Zaferes. The current standings:

1. 4,180 ~ Vincent Luis (FRA) ~ 2018 World Series runner-up; 2015 bronze medalist
2. 3,783 ~ Mario Mola (ESP) ~ 2016-17-18 World Series Champion
3. 3,687 ~ Javier Gomez Noya (ESP) ~ 2010-13-14-15 World Series Champion
4. 3,325 ~ Fernando Alarza (ESP) ~ 2016 World Series bronze medalist
5. 3,255 ~ Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) ~ 2018 World Series bronze medalist

1. 4,925 ~ Katie Zaferes (USA) ~ 2018 World Series runner-up; 2017 bronze
2. 4,170 ~ Jessica Learmonth (GBR)
3. 4,121 ~ Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) ~ 2018 World Series bronze medalist
4. 3,981 ~ Taylor Spivey (USA)
5. 3,435 ~ Non Stanford (GBR) ~ 2013 World Series Champion

There will be 1,250 points awarded to the winner in Lausanne; according to the International Triathlon Union’s calculations, Luis would win the title with a top-five finish (regardless of what anyone else does) and Zaferes only need to finish in the top 12.

If he manages to win the overall title, Luis would be the first from France to do so. The last six titles in a row have gone to Spain, with Javier Gomez winning three in a row and Mola winning the last three. In fact, Luis is the only French medal winner in World Series history with a bronze in 2015 and a silver in 2018. He’s going for a complete set of medals this year.

Zaferes has been sensational from the start, winning four of the first five races, but she was in a bike crash in the Hamburg race and suffered the same fate in the Tokyo test event (and has the stitches to prove it). So she needs to get through the course safely and should be able to rise from third (2017) to second (2018) to first in 2019. She would be the first to progress that way over three years.

She would also be the first American to win the seasonal crown since Gwen Jorgensen in 2014 and 2015. With three career seasonal medals, should move to no. 2 all-time, behind only New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt, who won five (0-2-3) from 2009-15 and tied with Jorgensen (2-1-0) from 2014-16.

This will also be the first race for the British duo of Learmonth and Taylor-Brown since their disqualification for their on-purpose tie at the finish of the Tokyo test event. Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, back from injury, was awarded the win and will be a contender to win this race.

The men’s and women’s elite races are on Saturday (31st), over the standard Olympic distance: 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike (seven laps) and 10 km run (four laps). The bike phase is especially challenging with two sharp rises. Look for results here.