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Beth Potter runs to world title and World Triathlon Championship Finals win

After lots of drama in the men's race, the women's favourites came through in Pontevedra today.

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

After a dramatic men’s race that saw the two favourites finish so far back that neither would take the world title, the two women’s favourites for the World Triathlon Championships Series finished on the podium today, ensuring that they would take first and second in overall series.

Heading into today’s World Triathlon Championship Finals in Pontevedra, Cassandre Beaugrand and Beth Potter (pictured above winning WTCS Montreal) were sitting first and second in the standings, with just a few points separating them. That meant a win for either would guarantee them the championship. Potter, fresh off a win at the Paris Test Event, proved to be too strong for the Frenchwoman, pulling clear on the run to take a convincing win over countrywoman Kate Waugh, with Beaugrand rounding out the podium.

Big lead group

Italy’s Bianca Serigni led much of the swim, with Maya Kingma pushing hard at the end of the second loop, seemingly hoping to set up an early breakaway. In the end it was Britain’s Olivia Mathias who would exit the water first, with a steady line of women behind.

Beaugrand managed to get to the front group of six that had a bit of space early on the bike, but Potter was part of a small group just a little behind that was able to bridge up to the breakaway before the end of the first lap. By the end of the first loop the group of six had become 16 as the rest of the contenders, most notably Potter and American Taylor Spivey, managed to bridge up to the group.

The large chase group, which included American Olympic hopefuls Gwen Jorgensen and Katie Zaferes, lost time for the first half of the bike, with the gap growing to about 45 seconds at the halfway point of the ride. Jorgensen, who was at the tail end of the chase group, eventually got spat out the back, putting her out of contention for a top finish. By the end of the ride the lead group was still ahead, but the gap was down to 13 seconds to the chase group.

France’s Emma Lombardi was first out onto the run course, with Potter and fellow Brit Kate Waugh close behind. Beaugrand quickly moved up to the group, but started to cramp on one of the early downhills, setting up a three-woman lead group with the two Brits and Lombardi.

Potter breaks 5 km world record in newly released shoes

Lombardi would eventually get dropped by the other two, and Potter started to pull clear of Waugh through the third of the four laps of the run. From there on it was obvious that the 2016 Olympian (she represented Great Britain in the 10,000 m on the track) was on her way to an Olympic qualification, the win and the world title. Waugh would hang tough for the runner-up position, with Beaugrand regrouping to take third. Germany’s Lisa Tersch would run her way up to fourth, running alongside Beaugrand until having to spend 15 seconds in the penalty tent before sprinting to the line. Fourth was enough to earn Tersch a spot on the German Olympic team next year. The Netherlands’ Rachel Klamer would also nail her Olympic qualifying slot with fifth, while Lombardi would take sixth.

You can see the full results here.

“This has been a dream season,” Potter said after the race. “I wasn’t feeling too good on the swim and the bike, so I tried to be as smart as possible. I trusted my ability on the 10km and I felt good on the run.”

“Good on the run” is most definitely the understatement of the day. In just six years Potter has gone from novice triathlete to world champion. She’s also set herself up as the woman to beat at next year’s Olympics.