Beth Potter claimed bronze at World Triathlon Championship Series Bermuda to step-up her overall podium hopes, while Alex Yee moved up to second place in the series rankings after a fifth-place finish in Bermuda.
A strong run from Potter saw the British triathlete secure bronze – her third WTCS medal of 2022 – to move into third in the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Rankings, with Yee’s result also moving him onto the series podium places heading into Abu Dhabi.
The standard distance races in Bermuda were the penultimate event of this year’s World Triathlon Championship Series and the final chance to gain points ahead of the Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi from 24-26 November.
Just as it was in the last WTCS race in Cagliari, the swim conditions didn’t make it the easiest of swims, but Yee and Grant Sheldon emerged from the 1500m ocean swim almost shoulder-to-shoulder, both within the top-30 and main chase group in the men’s race.
Vincent Luis (FRA) was first out of the swim and was part of a group of eight athletes who headed onto the bike with an advantage over the rest of the 56-strong field. Both Yee and Sheldon were in the main chase pack, but a mechanical on the first bike lap saw Sheldon have to stop and become detached from the group.
Yee was well-positioned and was a constant presence towards the front of the group as he raced in Bermuda for the first time. Yee worked hard on the front, with the gap to the leaders 53 seconds at the halfway stage of the bike, but that would be the biggest margin between the two groups. The advantage reduced to 44 seconds by transition two.
Yee did lose some time in T2 and headed onto the 10km run 54 seconds behind the leaders with Jonas Schomburg (GER) out of transition first. Sheldon was more than five minutes down after his earlier mechanical.
Over the first run lap of 2.5km, Yee showcased his running ability once again, gaining 21 places as he moved into the top-12, 39 seconds off the lead of Schomburg, who had Luis just off his shoulder.
Halfway through the run, Luis had moved into the race lead and Yee was up to eighth, leading a small group which included Olympic and world champion Kristian Blummenfelt and his Norwegian compatriot and IRONMAN world champion Gustav Iden.
Continuing his progression through the field, Yee was fifth with one lap to go, digging deep to the very end in his pursuit of chasing down the athletes in front of him. Having distanced the others in the group on the final lap, the Olympic gold and silver medallist outsprinted Blummenfelt to finish fifth as Luis secured the race win. Sheldon finished 40th.
The result moves Yee up to second in the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Rankings ahead of the world title decider in Abu Dhabi later this month.
In the women’s race, Coldwell and Potter both arrived on the island hoping to boost their overall podium ambitions after consistent seasons positioned the two Brits in the top-seven overall.
Just as Coldwell has been all season, the Loughborough-based athlete was towards the front of the swim, exiting the water in fifth but within six seconds of Bianca Seregni (ITA) and Dame Flora Duffy (BER) with Potter also in the top-20.
Rain began to fall during the latter stages of the swim and added an extra challenge to what was an undulating bike course, notably Flora Duffy Hill which is named after the Olympic champion from Bermuda.
The race hadn’t even reached the hill for the first time and already the athlete it’s named after was up the road. First out of transition one, Duffy immediately created a gap to the chasers behind and Coldwell was one of the first to lead the chase before a larger group came together. Potter managed to close a gap of over 25 seconds to ensure she was part of that first chase group.
After Maya Kingma (NED) bridged across the gap to Duffy on lap two, that remained the situation at the head of the race until transition two, despite the efforts of IRONMAN 70.3 champion Tayor Knibb (USA), who caught and then rode off the front of the chase group in pursuit of the leading duo.
Coldwell and Potter remained in the main chase pack which was nearly two minutes behind the front two as the race reached the transition from bike to run.
Potter led the chase pack out onto the run with Coldwell close behind and also in the top-eight. Starting the run in fourth, Potter went off in pursuit of a third WTCS medal of her career and also of 2022.
The Commonwealth bronze medallist had started the run 01:47 behind Kingma, but, with the Dutch athlete slowing and Potter running strongly, Potter passed Kingma on the penultimate lap to move into third.
Potter crossed the line third with only Duffy running quicker than Potter over the 10km. Her podium place also moves Potter into third in the Maurice Lacroix World Triathlon Championship Rankings.
Speaking after the race, Potter said: "Just to be in such good company with two of the best riders in World Triathlon, so I'm pretty pleased with today.
"I wish I had gone with it [the break of Knibb], I think I didn't believe in myself enough, but I think I should have been a bit more gutsy and gone with it. I'm still happy with today and it's another step in the right direction.
"I wasn't actually planning on doing this. I just kept my name on the start list for as long as possible because it's been a mad, mad season with Super League and all the races. I'm glad I decided to come here, I think it was definitely worthwhile."
Coldwell finished 22nd and holds a top-eight position in the rankings ahead of Abu Dhabi. The women's race was won by Duffy with Knibb claiming silver.
(Image: Wagner Araujo / World Triathlon)