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Beth Potter takes first WTCS win in Abu Dhabi

Kretz leads Canadians with 29th-place finish

Photo by: World Triathlon/ Tommy Zaferes

Great Britain’s Beth Potter is no stranger to Olympic competition, having competed for her country at the 2016 Games in the 10,000 m event on the track. Her sites are set on getting to another Olympics as a triathlete, though, and today she put herself on the right track with her first World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) win, running her way to the Abu Dhabi title.

Potter’s countrywoman Sophie Coldwell led the women out of the water and still managed to join the breakaway of six despite serving a 10-second penalty for a false start. The group included Potter, Coldwell, Americans Summer Rappaport and Taylor Spivey, and Germany’s Lena Meissner and Brazil’s Luisa Baptista.

Surprisingly Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), who was a close second in the overall WTCS standings last year, was well off the pace after the swim and found herself trying to organize the chase group with another former world champion, Katie Zaferes, who is making a comeback after giving birth to son Kimble last July. The group was able to stay clear, though, hitting T2 with a 47-second lead.

Once out on the run Rappaport made an initial charge, but it wasn’t long before Potter was controlling the pace and only Coldwell was able to stay with her. Coldwell tried to make a move to the front during the final lap, but with 500 m to go Potter made her move up a hill and take the win. Coldwell would cross the line 18-seconds later, with Spivey hanging tough for the bronze, 31-seconds behind Potter.

“It’s always a bit of an unknown the first race of the season, but I’ve been training well and Johnny (Brownlee) texted me last night and said ‘you’re gonna win’ and I couldn’t believe it!” Potter said. “I just wanted to do my best having worked not just on the physical side, but also the mental. I feel much more calm, positive and aggressive racing. I knew I could potentially attack and run hard over the top of the hill, so it was back to my cross country days there!”

“To be honest I wasn’t even planning on racing here, so to come second was amazing, I’m lost for words,” said Coldwell. “I was just too keen to get the season started! As soon as I dived in thought I’d gone early, so just wanted to keep my head down and relax. It was a really strong group on the bike. I didn’t really think it was a breakaway course so I was surprised we managed to get it going and surprised the gap went out to nearly 50 seconds but I can’t complain – I love a breakaway!”

“To say i’m pleased is an understatement,” said Spivey. “At one point I was in fourth and I just thought ‘I can’t let this happen again. I’m not the most confident athlete but I executed every step of the race and it paid off. I went into this race after being sick for 5 months so it’s been a bit of a rough off-season so to come back and do that is really reassuring.”

Canadian two-time Olympian Amelie Kretz put herself in the Olympic qualifying picture with a 29th-place finish, while Emy Legault took 47th.

You can find full results here.