August 29, 2018

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Race Review: Podiums for Kristian Blummenfelt and Georgia Taylor-Brown at WTS Montreal

Georgia Taylor-Brown

 

Women

 

HUUB's Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and Sophie Coldwell (GBR) led way in the non-wetsuit 1500m swim. They were closely followed by Americans Katie Zaferes and Summer Cook - all four athletes have previously finished on the podium at a world stage after benefitting from a swim-bike breakaway, and at one point it looked like this could happen again with a gap of one minute to the chasing pack coming out of the water. However, Nicola Spirig (SUI), back to ITU racing added the firepower needed to reel in the leaders, similarly to what happened in Glasgow at the European Championships, and the break was soon neutralised to make a leading pack of 13.

The pack was dominated by British and American athletes, the two leading forces in women's triathlon at the moment and it looked a strong possibility that podium would be made up by athletes from these two nations. The gap to the chase pack eventually escalated out to well over three minutes, eliminating hopes of a podium or even a top 10 finish for Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) - 2017's winner, as well as well as Rachel Klamer (NED), Kirsten Kasper (USA) and Ai Ueda (JPN).

At one point it looked like there would be a British clean-sweep of the podium, but Zaferes was intent on spoiling the party and one by one made her way through the leading Brits. Vicky Holland (GBR) was the only one able to hold off Zaferes. HUUB's Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) finished off the podium earning her third podium finish of 2018, an incredible year for the young athlete.

 

Men

 

The weather conditions for the men's race was a stark contrast to the women's race the day before. The men were greeted with a sodden course and rain was still falling as the race got underway. HUUB's Henri Schoeman (RSA) led from the start and was even spotted doing a bit of backstroke 10m off the front of the swim to check on the status of the rest of the field. He exited the water in an incredibly fast 17.08! Out on to the bike and two fairly large bike packs eventually joined together after a few laps of hard chasing, the lead group contained around 30 athletes and all the favourites.

Andreas Schilling (DEN) was the most aggressive out on the course and looked the most comfortable in the tricky conditions. He took his chances and forged ahead solo, but the gap was tentative as the group was not keen to let the Danish powerhouse take control of the race. As Schilling came within riding distance of the pack, a number of athletes saw their opportunity to bridge across. In the end, another four athletes joined Schilling; Kristian Blummenfelft (NOR), Casper Stornes (NOR), Charles Paquet (CAN), and Shachar Sagiv (ISR). The new group largely driven by Blummenfelt soon had a sizeable advantage. They entered T2 with just over 1 minute to the chase pack containing triathlon's fastest runners.

Although Blummenfelt looked in control and fast over the undulating 10k course, Mario Mola (ESP) was on the hunt for his fourth WTS victory of the year and looked on another level. Richard Murray (RSA) and Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS) couldn't even stay with the fast-moving Spaniard. Mola managed to run through the leading pack of five only catching Blummenfelt in the last kilometre, who in response looked to give a valiant effort to stay with Mola as he ran past, but there was no stopping the World number 1. Mola took the victory with a phenomenally fast 29.48 run split for that course and looks almost unbeatable with the Grand Final coming up. Blummenfelt finished in a close second, with Birtwhistle rounding off the podium after a late surge past a struggling Richard Murray.


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