Using the inaugural Montreal World Cup event as a tune-up for Rio, Kristian Blummenfelt and Flora Duffy were untouchable in taking the titles, but Matt Sharpe did Canada proud with a runner-up finish.
The inaugural race, held in Montreal’s downtown, included age group standard and sprint distance races, along with national junior series races, all starting from the Jacques-Cartier Quay in the Montreal’s old port. The athletes biked on a closed course through the city (age groupers on a 6.7 km loop, elites on a 5 km loop) before returning to the transition on the pier for to finish the run on a 1.65 km loop. The spectator-friendly course showcased Montreal in fine style and was a hit for both elites and age group athletes.
Duffy does her thing
Bermuda’s Flora Duffy has surged to the top of the ITU rankings thanks to an aggressive race style that typically sees her pull away on the bike in hopes of gaining enough of a lead to hang on during the run. She followed that plan perfectly in Montreal, following close on the heels of Summer Cook out of the water. Duffy charged out onto the bike course, initially looking like she might try to solo her way to another title, but then easing off part way through the first loop to allow 18-year-old Taylor Knibb (USA) to come up and join the fun at the front.
A chase pack of seven formed in behind that included Australian Olympian Ashleigh Gentle and countrywoman Emma Jackson, Canada’s own Paula Findlay, Japan’s Yuka Sato and Americans Kirsten Kasper and Lindsey Jerdonek.
Duffy left Knibb heading into the final lap and came off the bike with a sizeable lead, one that wouldn’t be touched by the women behind. Knibb, competing in her first world cup race, hung tough but couldn’t hold off Gentle, who ran her way to the silver medal. Jackson was 30 seconds from the podium in fourth, followed by Jerdonek.
Kirsten Sweetland, using the race as her final Rio tune up, had mechanical issues on the bike and was well back starting the run, finishing as the fourth Canadian in the field behind Findlay, Joanna Brown and Dominika Jamnicky.
- Flora Duffy (BER) 1:03
- Ashley Gentle (AUS) 1:03:24
- Taylor Knibb (USA) 1:03:44
Canadians: 10. Paula Findlay 1:05:39. 18. Joanna Brown 1:06:51. 19. Dominika Jamnicky 1:06:59. 24. Kirsten Sweetland 1:08:21. 27. Emy Legault 1:09:05. 29. Severine Bouchez 1:09:18. Elisabeth Boutin 1:10:54. 33. Karol-Ann Roy 1:11:32
Blummenfelt tunes up for Rio
Any doubt that Kristian Blummenfelt was using this race to fine-tune his efforts for Rio were dispelled in watching the Norweigan sprint to the line, seemingly in the hunt for a sub-15 minute performance on the run. (He ended up with a 15:04 split.)
Blummenfelt was towards the back of the large lead group that came out of the water, but flew through T1 and quickly became part of the eight-man that included Canadians Matt Sharpe and Myles Zagar, Americans William Huffman, Eric Lagerstrom and Hunter Lussi, along with Japan’s Yuichi Hosoda.
That group dropped Zagar on the bike and were all dropped quickly by Blummenfelt on the run. That left Sharpe and Lagerstrom to battle for the silver, which Sharpe took in a dramatic sprint.
- Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) 57:29
- Matthew Sharpe (CAN) 58:43
- Eric Lagerstrom (USA) 58:47
14. Xavier Grenier-Talavera 59:46. 17. Myles Zagar 1:00:06. 21. Taylor Forbes 1:00:23. 26. Russell Pennock 1:01:09. 27. Gabriel Legault 1:01:18. 32. Alexander Hinton 1:03:07. 37. Francis Lefebvre 1:03:53.
Ridenour and Blecher top junior races
Ontario’s Oliver Blecher led from start to finish in the junior men’s race, riding solo off the front to a huge lead over the men’s chase pack and then posting a solid sub-17-minute run to easily hold off national champion Charles Paquet and take the junior men’s title by 1:13.
- Oliver Blecher (ON) 1:00:48
- Charles Paquet (QU) 1:02:01
- Brennan Smith (BC) 1:02:22
Just as she did two weeks ago at the national championships, Desirae Ridenour ran away with the women’s title. The BC athlete was part of a three-woman lead group that included Kyla Roy and swim leader Elise Bolger, but once the running started there was no contest at Ridenour clocked an 18:40 split to easily take the women’s race.
- Desirae Ridenour (BC) 1:09:15
- Kyla Roy (MB) 1:10:52
- Emma Skaug (AB) 1:11:04