After placing four in the top five at the previous round of the ITU World Triathlon Series in Edmonton, Britain’s female triathletes are rightly being considered a force to be reckoned with this weekend at the penultimate round in Montreal, Canada. There’s tough competition, but this is a race not to be missed on Saturday. Mario Mola (ESP) is rightly considered favourite for Sunday’s men’s race.
Montreal hosts the final round of the ITU World Triathlon Series before the Grand Final next month and represents the last opportunity to gain valuable ranking points that will help decide the overall world champions for 2018. Whilst Mola looks to be in control of the men’s title race, the women’s event is much more open.
Current leader Katie Zaferes (USA) has a lead at the moment, but a good result for second ranked Vicky Holland could see her close the gap significantly as she will replace the 22ndplace result she got in Hamburg following a crash. Jessica Learmonth, currently fifth, Georgia Taylor-Brown (sixth) and Jodie Stimpson (tenth) should also move up given the fact that they have just four scoring results out of a possible five at the moment.
Holland, who won the last round in Edmonton, said: “The plan is to try to close the gap on Katie Zaferes a little in the overall Series rankings, this is the last opportunity to do so before the Grand Final. She’s in the driving seat for the world title at the moment but British women are doing really well in this latter part of the season and it’s a real pleasure to be part of that."
The race also features the in-form Nicola Spirig (SUI) after her back-to-back wins at the ETU European Championships in Glasgow and the ITU World Cup in Lausanne last weekend. Rachel Klamer (NED) and Kirsten Kasper (USA) will also want to give themselves every opportunity to challenge for the world title given their current rankings of third and fourth respectively.
In contrast to the women’s world title race, which is wide open, Mola appears to have his title defense as good as secured. He will need to race well on the Gold Coast next month, but currently has a huge lead from Vincent Luis (FRA), and could stretch that further if he wins on Sunday.
Tom Bishop is the sole British athlete in the elite men’s race. He much prefers the standard distance, technical racing that Montreal has to offer than the previous sprint race rounds. He placed sixth at the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds, his last race over the full distance.
Following this weekend’s races, the Grand Final will take place on the Gold Coast, 12-16 September. Great Britain has selected a squad of 34 elite athletes, including juniors, U23, seniors and paratriathletes.
How to watch:
LIVE via BBC Red Button, BBC online and TriathlonLive.tv.
Women: from 6:20pm Saturday 25th.
Men: from 6:20pm Sunday 26th.
Highlights: Women’s race 1:45pm on Sunday 26thon BBC Two. Men’s race 2:15pm Monday 27thon BBC Two.
Full start lists can be found here.