World Triathlon Series: GB's Vicky Holland ready for title defence

Media playback is not supported on this device

World triathlon champion Vicky Holland excited & nervous for new season
ITU World Triathlon Series
Venue: Abu Dhabi, UAE Dates: 8-9 March
Fri 8 Mar: Men's race: 09:50-11:15 & women's race 11:50-13:20, BBC Red Button, online, app and connected TV.
Sat 9 Mar: Mixed Relay: 07:50-09:45, BBC Red Button, online, app and connected TV.
Sun 10 Mar: Highlights show: 13:00-14:30, BBC Two.

Reigning world champion Vicky Holland will lead Great Britain's challenge at the opening World Triathlon Series event of 2019 in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

Holland, Jess Learmonth, India Lee, Non Stanford and Georgia Taylor-Brown are in the women's event. Tom Bishop and Alex Yee compete in the men's event.

"I really wanted to go to this first race as the defending world champion - wearing the number one," said Holland.

Olympic qualification for Tokyo will also be at stake this season.

"My goals are around the whole series and also qualification, which comes later in the year," said Holland.

"I started training in November - I think a longer break was needed. I've just done a lot of the stuff that worked last season. We're also trying to make my swimming as robust as possible."

Jonny Brownlee, now back to full fitness and a winner at the final Super League event in Singapore, is not racing in Abu Dhabi as he prioritises Olympic qualification, while elder brother Alistair is still considering whether to target the 2019 World Ironman title or defend his Olympic triathlon title in 2020.

Yee, who trains with the Brownlee brothers in Leeds, won the British 10,000m title last year and recently claimed his first World Cup triathlon victory in Cape Town.

The 21-year-old makes his debut in the elite series on Friday, and Jonny Brownlee is excited about his potential.

"He might not be as consistent as we've seen from Alistair, just because of the way he races," said Jonny. "But if it goes the right way I think he's going to have some very, very good races.

"He's the fastest runner triathlon's ever seen. We should be very thankful he's British."

Super League series winner Katie Zaferes of the United States will be competing in Abu Dhabi, the first of seven events before the grand final in Lausanne in August, but 2016 and 2017 world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda has pulled out because of injury.

On the men's side, world champion Mario Mola of Spain takes on France's Vincent Luis, the winner of both the 2017 and 2018 grand finals, and Commonwealth champion Henri Schoeman of South Africa.

Leeds will again host the British leg of the series, in early June.

There are also places in the new mixed relay Olympic event to be won this season. There will be further races under the format in Nottingham, Hamburg and Edmonton this season.

Top Stories