France, winners of four of the available nine medals at the first International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) World Cup event of the season at Cairo earlier this month, are now focusing attention on the second World Cup due to start in Los Angeles tomorrow.
Elodie Clouvel and Christopher Patte claimed the individual gold medals in Egypt, but the second date on the World Cup calendar may prove more testing given the quality of athletes gathered at the Fairplex events complex in Pomona in Los Angeles County.
The 2017 men’s world champion, Jung Jinghwa of South Korea, is due to make his first appearance of the season.
He will encounter stiff competition in the form of France’s Valentin Belaud, silver medallist in Cairo and his predecessor as world champion.
Elsewhere in the field are set to be the Rio 2016 Olympic gold and silver medallists, Alexander Lesun of Russia and Ukraine’s Pavlo Tymoshchenko.
Also returning to the circuit are proven performers such as Jamie Cooke and Joe Choong of Great Britain, Bence Demeter and Ádám Marosi of Hungary, Jun Woongtae of South Korea, , Riccardo de Luca of Italy, Charles Fernandez from Guatemala and Patrick Dogue of Germany.
There will also be strong delegations from Egypt, China, Japan and the United States.
The host nation’s challenge will be spearheaded by Rio 2016 Olympian Isabella Isaksen and 2016 UIPM triathle world champion Samantha Achterberg.
Rio 2016 silver medallist Clouvel is likely to be one of the front-runners once again in the women’s event, along with world champion Gulnaz Gubaydullina of Russia.
The field includes perennial contenders Tamara Alekszejev and Sarolta Kovács of Hungary, Kim Sunwoo of Korea, Alice Sotero of Italy, Ilke Ozyuksel of Turkey and Germany;s Annika Schleu.
There is also a return for Britain’s London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray.
"We return to Los Angeles with high expectations after a successful World Cup here in 2017," UIPM President Dr Klaus Schormann said.
"Fairplex is an excellent venue for our sport and we hope to have many more top-level competitions here in the future.
"The state of California also has a strong sporting tradition and we are now at the beginning of a new era with the Olympic Summer Games coming to Los Angeles for the second time in 2028.
"I know this will be a spectacular celebration of sport.
"Our elite pentathletes and their coaches are currently focused on Tokyo 2020 and the Pentathlon World Cup not only gives them an opportunity to compete at a high level, it also offers a global showcase to our partners, broadcast partners and officials."
Qualifying is due to take place tomorrow and Tuesday (March 27)
The women’s final is scheduled to take place on Wednesday (March 28), followed by the men’s final on Thursday (March 29) and the mixed relay on Saturday (March 30).