The World Triathlon Madrid not only marks the halfway point in the ITU World Triathlon Series, but also the first of five European stops.
With stacked start lists in both the men's and women's races, the hot and hilly course is set to see some savage battles. Jonathan Brownlee and Javier Gomez will face off yet again in the men's race, while leading ladies Gwen Jorgensen and Anne Haug will battle for the top ranking on the World Triathlon Series chart.
As the highest ranked woman so far this season, Gwen Jorgensen (USA) will wear the top number in Madrid. But current runner-up Anne Haug (GER) will be hard pressed to let Jorgensen keep the first seed after skipping the World Triathlon Yokohama race.
The two top ranked women employ practically opposite race strategies, which will no doubt set the scene for an interesting event. The tough course suits Haug's stellar bike strengths, but she'll need a hefty lead ahead of Jorgensen if she wants to fend off the American's dynamite run speed at the finish line.
On the men's side, reigning world champion Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), who won the race in Madrid last year, returns as a clear pre-race heavyweight.
Though the Olympic bronze medalist is tied with older brother Alistair at 11th in the world rankings after missing San Diego and Auckland, Jonny made it clear he is back to his usual top form with a win in Yokohama.
But Madrid will be no walk in the park with the likes of home country favourites Javier Gomez and Mario Mola rearing to race. All men appear to be on point across all disciplines, but especially on the run. Mola recently outran Jonny's 5km split at the French Grand Prix by nearly 45 seconds.
If Mola keeps pace on the swim and bike, he's speed with twice the run distance in Madrid just might be too much to hold off.