In case you’re wondering just how strong the British women’s triathlon team is, how’s this for a fun fact: with her second World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) victory today in Montreal, Beth Potter maintained her country’s string of wins in 2023 – no other nation has put an athlete atop the podium so far.
Potter took what turned out to be a 5 km footrace, despite a gallant breakaway attempt by American Taylor Knibb (who was joined by countrywoman Summer Rappaport) on the bike. After taking fourth (missing the podium by two seconds) at the USA Cycling National Time Trial Championships on Thursday, Knibb arrived late for Thursday’s technical meeting, which meant she had to serve a 10-second penalty in T1.
Knibb was second out of the water behind Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes, but sprinted to the transition to try and get a few seconds to spare. The lead group heading out on to the bike consisted of Rappaport, Sophie Coldwell (GBR), Katie Zaferes (USA), Kate Waugh (GBR), Rosa Maria Tapia Vidal (MEX) and Georgia Taylor-Brown tried to get away from Knibb, but the reigning 70.3 world champ was able to get onto the group.
On the third of six laps Knibb pulled clear of the group, with Rappaport hanging on behind her. The lead would get up to 15 seconds, but by the time the pair hit T2 they were just a few seconds clear. Rappaport flew through transition to take the lead through the early part of the run, but it wasn’t long before group that included Zaferes, Potter, Jeanne Lehair (LUX), Taylor-Brown, Cathia Schar (SUI) and Leonie Periault (FRA) were chasing the Americans.
Lehair pushed early for the front with Periault and Potter marking her move, and once caught Rappaport stayed in the mix. Lehair would fade, leaving the other three to push for the medals.
A confident Potter used her track background to dial in the perfect time to make her move and pulled clear ahead of the blue carpet and cruised in for both her second WTCS win of 2023 and her career.
“I didn’t have a great swim today, but I just made sure I stayed cool and calm and worked hard on the first two laps of the bike and got back on,” Potter said. “I wasn’t actually sure where she (Taylor Knibb) was and I was thinking if she’s in front of me, I am in trouble. She was in front of me and I still managed to get there so that’s a big confidence boost.”
“I am just very happy for my race,” Periault said of her runner-up finish. “The last month has been really difficult for me. To take the second today, it’s amazing. I am very happy. Now my focus is the Paris Test Event.”
“I am thrilled,” said Rappaport of her bronze-medal performance. “It’s been a really difficult couple of years, I thought about quitting probably more days than not but I think everybody likes seeing someone who is consistent, but I think sport is more about having the struggles and standing back up and keeping on fighting. I think that’s why most athletes do it and I am not going to quit on myself because of hard times.I was pretty proud of myself today. I switched training groups, I am training now with Ian O’Brien, and Taylor (Knibb) is one of my training partners. I have been working really hard in training, so it was really good to put it together. I was surprised when it was just the two of us and I thought, I know what I’ve got to do. I am very happy I didn’t quit and hopefully I will be back even more now.”
Lehair was able to hang on for fourth, with Zaferes posting her best WTCS finish since coming back from maternity leave with fifth.
Knibb would take sixth, Taylor-Brown seventh, Zsanett Bragmayer eighth, Taylor Spivey (USA) ninth with Colombia’s Maria Carolina Velasquez rounding out the top 10.
Canada’s Dominika Jamnicky finished 17th, with Emy Legault taking 40th.
Full results are here.