Double Olympic champion Alistair BROWNLEE (GBR) heads strong triathlon field
GLASGOW - One of the European championships' most challenging sports gets underway on Thursday, with three triathlon titles at stake at Strathclyde Country Park.
Great Britain and France field strong contenders in both the individual events and mixed relay.
All eyes will be on Alistair BROWNLEE, Britain's double gold medallist at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. After withdrawing from the World Triathlon Series (WTS) event in Leeds in June, he will be back in Glasgow to prove he can add another European title to his already-impressive medal collection.
Fernando ALARZA, fourth at WTS Edmonton one week ago, will lead the strong Spanish contingent together with Uxio ABUIN ARES, who secured silver in the sprint distance at the Tartu ETU Triathlon European Championships in July.
Sprint specialist Richard VARGA (SVK) will also look to excel in the Olympic distance while Frenchman Pierre LE CORRE is seventh in the world rankings.
The men's event takes place on Friday 10 August.
Jessica LEARMONTH from Great Britain, currently ranked fifth in the world, will have to show her best form to defend her European gold in Glasgow.
"Going to Kitzbuhel last year I didn't expect to do anything special and I came away with the European title," she said. "It's a nice thing to have and it'd be nice to retain that."
Two in-form youngsters will be aiming for the podium in Glasgow. In Hamburg in July, 21-year-old Cassandre BEAUGRAND (FRA) won her first-ever ITU World Triathlon Series gold medal ahead of Laura LINDEMANN, 22, the 2017 European sprint champion.
At the other end of the age spectrum, London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallist and Rio 2016 silver medallist Nicola SPIRIG (SUI) remains in podium contention at 36.
The women's event takes place on Thursday 9 August.
Nineteen teams will take part in the mixed relay event, a first for a triathlon European championships, ahead of its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
France, crowned world champions in Hamburg in July, face competition from Great Britain and the Netherlands
The mixed relay event takes place on Saturday 11 August. On the same day, Glasgow 2018 will also feature the first ever Age Group Sprint Distance European Championships for non-elite athletes from 16-80 years old.
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