Perhaps the biggest news heading into the event is that former world No. 1 and the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal, is on the start list.
Fernandes, who is one of the winningest triathletes of all time in any distance with five elite European titles, a 2007 world title, and a record 20 World Cup wins, abruptly announced in February that she was taking a break from the sport due to health issues.
After she won her silver medal in Beijing, Fernandes struggled with injuries, failing to finish the three World Championship Series races she entered in 2009 and coming in 10th at the 2010 World Championship Series event in Madrid.
Other than Fernandes, there are several other big names on the Yokohama start list, including 2011 world champion Helen Jenkins of Great Britain and 2011 world runner-up Andrew Hewitt of New Zealand.
The women will have steep competition from Australia’s Emma Jackson and Emma Moffatt, Sweden’s Lisa Norden, Ai Ueda of Japan, Kate McIlroy of New Zealand, Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig, as well as many others.
There are a few notable absences, though, as many athletes have chosen to sit out the race after an arduous 2011 World Championship Series season that ended only last weekend.
Potential podium athletes including Emma Snowsill of Australia; Paula Findlay of Canada; Americans Gwen Jorgensen, Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff; and Barbara Riveros Diaz of Chile, are among those who are not scheduled to compete.
Jillian Petersen of Colorado Springs, Colo., will be the lone American woman racing.