ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Led by series podium contenders Katie Zaferes and Kirsten Kasper, nine elite triathletes will represent the United States at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Saturday. The race marks the culmination of the season-long, nine-stop ITU World Triathlon Series, after which the 2017 world champions will be crowned based on a season-long points total.
The Olympic-distance course in Rotterdam features a two-lap, 1,500-meter swim in the Rijnhaven harbor; a technical seven-lap, 40-kilometer bike on concrete and cobblestone; and a four-lap, 10-kilometer run finishing near the port of Veerhaven.
The elite men race at 7:06 a.m. ET (1:06 p.m. local time), and the women go off at 9:51 a.m. ET (3:51 p.m. local time). Both men’s and women’s races will be broadcast live at triathlonlive.tv. In the United States, the races will also air on Universal HD on Monday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. ET. Visit nbcsports.com for a complete schedule of Olympic sports broadcasts and channel information.
Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) leads the U.S. contingent at No. 4 on the women’s start list behind defending world champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda, Ashleigh Gentle of Australia and Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand. A 2016 U.S. Olympian, Zaferes finished fourth in last year’s overall WTS standings. She has reached the WTS podium twice this season with a silver in Yokohama in May and a bronze in Edmonton in July; she also won the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup in April.
Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) is No. 5 on the start list. Kasper raced to her first career WTS medal, a bronze, this May in Yokohama. She has placed top-10 in every WTS race this year except for the season opener in Abu Dhabi, where she placed 17th. Kasper has also collected two medals on the 2017 World Cup circuit, a bronze in Chengdu in May and a silver in Cagliari in June.
Both Kasper and Zaferes have a chance to finish on the WTS overall podium with strong performances at the Grand Final. Visit triathlon.org for a podium simulation tool.
At No. 11 on the start list is Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.). Spivey has had a breakthrough season, earning her first career World Cup podium in May with a silver in Madrid and her first WTS podium in June with a silver in Leeds.
At No. 17, Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) has momentum on her side. She is coming off two consecutive World Cup podiums, a gold in the Yucatán in August and a bronze in Karlovy Vary earlier this month.
Also competing for the U.S. women are Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.) at No. 17 and Lindsey Jerdonek (Brecksville, Ohio) at No. 35. Tomlin won gold at the Tiszaujvaros World Cup in July and has two top-10 WTS finishes on her resume this season, while Jerdonek earned her first career World Cup podium in the Yucatán in August.
Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete women’s start list.
Racing for the U.S. men are Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) at No. 27, Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) at No. 31, and Eric Lagerstrom (Portland, Ore.) at No. 48.
McElroy opened his season with a World Cup silver in New Plymouth. He went on to record top-20 finishes at both ITU World Triathlon Yokohama in May and ITU World Triathlon Hamburg in July.
Kanute, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, placed 16th at the WTS season opener in Abu Dhabi and followed that with an 11th-place finish at the New Plymouth World Cup. He has been top-25 at three additional WTS stops this season in Gold Coast, Edmonton and Montreal. Kanute was also the runner-up in the men’s professional field last weekend at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was less than a minute and half back from race winner Javier Gomez Noya of Spain, who is currently second in the men’s WTS rankings.
Lagerstrom has finished two WTS races this season, placing 27th in Yokohama in May and 28th in Edmonton in July. He also took 17th at the Karlovy Vary World Cup earlier this month.
Spain’s Mario Mola leads the men’s start list and the overall WTS rankings, followed by Gomez. South Africa’s Richard Murray is currently in third. Visit wts.triathlon.org for a complete men’s start list.
Triathlon fans can feel like part of the action with TRIFECTA, the official triathlon fantasy game of the ITU World Triathlon Series. Registration for TRIFECTA is open now at trifecta.usatriathlon.org, and podium picks must be submitted prior to the start of the first race.
In addition to the elite races in Rotterdam, the four-day event also showcases world championships for elite paratriathletes, juniors, U23 athletes and amateur triathletes. Visit usatriathlon.org for full coverage of each race. For complete event information, schedule and start lists for all races at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, visit rotterdam.triathlon.org.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).