It comes down to this.
On a Sunday morning in New York City, the tightest battle in the short history of the AbbottWMM women’s wheelchair series will reach its conclusion.
We arrive in the Big Apple with four women still capable of getting their hands on the title that currently resides with the USA’s Susannah Scaroni.
Scaroni is in the fight again, up against the Australian Madison de Rozario and Swiss pair Manuela Schär and Catherine Debrunner.
Schär has the narrowest advantage as we start the final chapter of the 2023 campaign, leading her compatriot by a single point. Scaroni is nine points behind the leader while De Rozario lurks in fourth, still within striking distance if she can win in Central Park.
It’s been a season like no other in this astonishing battle, with only Debrunner establishing any sort of momentum thanks to her back-to-back wins in Berlin and Chicago.
That first fall race in Germany was a watershed moment for the sport. Each of the first four women across the line broke the previous world record. They included the young upstart from Great Britain, Eden Rainbow-Cooper, underlining a deepening strength to the field on the AbbottWMM circuit.
Debrunner’s win made her the fourth different champion in four races in Series XV. Schär had taken race one in Tokyo before Scaroni powered away from everyone in Boston.
De Rozario outsprinted them all in London before Debrunner snatched races four and five, catapulting herself into the conversation for the overall series crown.
She has not competed in New York before, whereas the other three have all won there.
Scaroni’s course record-breaking win on these roads in 2022 suggests she could have the edge over the in-form Debrunner. The pair were wheel to wheel for almost the entirety of Chicago’s course last month before the Swiss deployed her searing track speed to escape in the home stretch.
Unless an early breakaway is successful, we could be in for a tactical tussle that sees the leaders work together until the gloves come off in Central Park and the fight to the finish ensues.
In the men’s series, Marcel Hug has all but secured another title, with the prospect of a clean sweep of all six Majors in 2023 now just one marathon away.
Hug’s modus operandi this season has been to scorch away from his competition as early as he can and maintain his speed throughout.
No one has had an answer to him so far, and it would be a brave soul to wager against the Silver Bullet this weekend.