Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee win in Montreal and first WTCS medal for Beth Potter

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Georgia Taylor-Brown and Alex Yee both celebrated victories at World Triathlon Championship Series Montreal where Beth Potter also claimed her first WTCS medal.

The eliminator race format delivered fast and furious racing as Great Britain continued their medal success in the fifth event of the 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series.

Taylor-Brown, Potter, Yee, Sophie Coldwell and Sam Dickinson all raced in Friday’s qualifiers, with Coldwell, Potter, Taylor-Brown and Yee advancing to the finals, including qualifier race wins for Taylor-Brown and Potter.

The qualifiers were raced over the duathlon format due to the water quality in Montreal, but it was back to swim, bike, run for the finals on Saturday when the top-30 athletes in both the women’s and men’s events from Friday returned for the three-stage final.

Raced over a 300m swim, 7.2km bike and 2km run, the slowest 10 athletes at both the end of stage one and stage two were eliminated, leaving the top-10 athletes to battle for the race win and podium places in the third and final super sprint race.

The format delivered fast and furious racing in the finals with Coldwell, Potter and Taylor-Brown all ensuring they were near the front in the opening two stages, where the top-20 and then top-10 athletes progressed.

With all three safely negotiating the opening two stages in the women’s final, including Taylor-Brown crossing the line first in both stage one and stage two, it was then onto the medal-deciding third and final stage.

Just like the previous two stages, Coldwell, Potter and Taylor-Brown were not far from the front as they exited the 300m swim with Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and Summer Rappaport (USA) leading the athletes out of the water for the final time.

In transition one and during the first few pedal strokes on the bike, Taylor-Brown and Potter came to the head of the race, forming a lead group of three with Beaugrand. Behind them was Coldwell in a chasing group of four who worked to try and close the gap over the three bike laps.

The gap had grown to 17 seconds by the time they reached transition two and it was in the final transition where Taylor-Brown would catapult herself to victory, along with super running over the following 2km.

Taylor-Brown and Potter exited transition with an advantage over Beaugrand, the race winner from two weeks ago in Leeds. In Montreal, it would be Taylor-Brown who would be celebrating the win, demonstrating speed, strength and resilience to hold off the challenge from behind to win and extend her lead at the top of the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Rankings.

Beaugrand did pass Potter as they started their second run lap with Potter crossing the line in third to claim bronze and her first ever World Triathlon Championship Series medal. Coldwell had worked hard in the chasing group and finished seventh to record another top-10 finish.

Speaking to World Triathlon after the race, Taylor-Brown said: “After the first race today when we all came in on the run I thought I don’t think I can run any faster than that, but I seemed to get into it as the races went on. It was just about staying safe for the first two [stages] and then emptying the tank on the final leg.”

Reflecting on her first World Triathlon Championship Series podium, a delighted Potter said: “I’ve been knocking on the door this season so just to execute today is a dream come true. The second round was the most nerve racking, so I just wanted to be safe in that one and have everything to play for in the final round.”

The men’s races in Montreal saw Yee back competing for the first time since the bike crash in Leeds and, while Dickinson finished 24th in the qualifier and wasn’t able to reach the final, Yee finished fourth to advance through to the racing on Saturday.

Yee finished safely in the top-four in both the opening two stages in the final, although race one saw Yee having to come through the pack on the run and then in race two move his way back towards the front after being towards the back when exiting the swim.

Onto the final stage and Yee exited the swim in sixth, nine seconds behind Vincent Luis (FRA) who led out of the water, but an efficient transition saw Yee part of the lead bike group of seven athletes which then became nine.

There was no change by the end of the bike, with Leeds winner Hayden Wilde (NZL) joining back with the leading group after a mechanical, setting-up a grandstand finale on the run with nine athletes separated by just two seconds.

On the run, Yee was part of a group of four athletes who would go onto contest for the medals, and it soon became a leading pair on the second lap as Yee and Wilde dropped both Jelle Geens (BEL) and Leo Bergere (FRA).

It left Yee and Wilde to go head-to-head for the race win and a thrilling sprint finish ended with Yee taking the tape and securing the victory by three seconds ahead of Wilde.

Commenting on his win with World Triathlon, Yee said: “After the crash you lose a bit of belief in yourself and the last two weeks have been tough for me to just get back on the bike but I came into this race more fired up than I ever have. That probably went against me in the first three races and in the last race I just stripped it back and just went out to have fun and do my best and that meant a lot.”

There’s still more action to come in Montreal with the World Mixed Relay Championships being held on Sunday (26 June) with the winning nation earning Olympic qualification for Paris 2024.

RESULTS

(Image: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon)

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