Rotterdam Grand Final Preview Almost 150 Irish athletes will race in Rotterdam this weekend at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.The Grand Final takes in an enormous number of events, from the Elite Men’s and Women’s Finals where the world best triathletes will race for the title of world champion to the elite paratriathlon events and the Age Group world chamopionships where Irish domestic amateur athletes get the chance to test their mettle against triathlete from other countries and hopefully bring some medals home.Follow the ActionYou can find out more about the Rotterdam Grand Final on the event’s own website: http://rotterdam.triathlon.org/Triathlon Ireland will carry the results from all the Irish athletes as they come in over the weekend so keep your eyes on our twitter feed and Facebook page for updates.A live finish-line broadcast will be available to watch on triathlonlive.tv and on the World Triathlon Facebook page, along with following along with play-by-play updates on Twitter @triathlonlive.FridayThe weekend of racing begins early on Friday morning with the Elite Paratriathlon World Championships where Aidan McGlynn will fly the flag in the Men’s PTS5 category. Four other Irish paratriathletes will start the paratriathlon open events - David Kerr in the PTWC Open race, Tojo Lazzari in the PTS4 Men’s Open race, Bryce Irvine in the PTS5 Men’s Open Race and Donnacha McCarthy in the PTVI Men’s Open Race.Men's U23The next event of Irish interest is the Men’s U23 race where the dynamic Irish duo of Con Doherty and Chris Mintern will both be bidding to finish high in the field.2017 has been a breakthrough year for Con Doherty with the 22 year old making the step up to World Cup racing with a series of superb performances and a silver medal at ETU Malmo. Doherty is ranked 27th in the U23 field but should be right at home against world class competition.Chris Mintern has had less exposure to international racing in 2017 but a string of great performances at home - including victory at the National Sprint Champs, and his first sub 15min 5km just last weekend - is plenty of evidence of the Corkman’s ability. Mintern is ranked 69th on the start list.SaturdaySaturday at Rotterdam begins with the Men’s Junior World Championships where Kerry teenager Cillian Tierney will make his first international start of the season. Tierney has improved steadily since starting his season late due to Leaving Cert commitments.Women's U23Elizabeth Carr makes her first ever international start in the women’s U23 event at 10am local time on Saturday. Carr has been the revelation of the women’s Super Series in 2017 - winning two races outright and improving with each successive outing. Because of her lack of international starts, Carr is ranked 57th out of 57 athletes and will no doubt use the event as a learning experience, but Carr’s performance ceiling is yet to be reached and as an athlete who’s performance ceiling still appears to be unknown, she will definitely not be just making up the numbers. Men's Elite FinalThe pinnacle of triathlon racing gets underway at lunchtime on Saturday with the women’s and the men’s Elite Grand Finals. Among the favourites are five times world champion Javier Gomez Noya, current holder of the title Mario Mola, with household names Jonathan Brownlee, Richard Murray also in the six.Against this world class field, Russell White and Ben Shaw will fly the flag for Ireland.White heads in to the race ranked 37th - a position that probably doesn’t truly reflect his great performances on triathlon’s biggest stages this year. White has finished in the top 25 in all three out of the five WTS races he started this season and is ranked 84th on the ITU points list.Ben Shaw’s most recent outing was just last weekend where he finished 4th in a world class field at the Beijing International Triathlon https://results.sporthive.com/events/6310944414113200640Shaw has won plaudits for his aggressive racing in the Triathlon Super League while on the ITU circuit, Shaw has posted some impressive results in 2017 with two Asian Cup victories in August and June.SundaySunday is Age Group World Champs day and Ireland will have 141 athletes racing the standard and sprint distances in Rotterdam. We’ll carry all the results as they come in. Expect medals!