In just under a year Montreal will host the world sprint championships and the organizers seem all-too-prepared for the big event based on this weekend’s exciting racing.
Featuring the exciting “Eliminator” format, the individual racing took place across two days on a super-sprint course that included a 300 m swim, 7.2 km bike and a 2 km run. After two qualifying races and a repechage on Friday, the field was set for the final on Saturday that saw the athletes compete in three super sprint races. At the end of the first race the last 10 were eliminated, with ten more being dropped after the second race. The last 10 raced for the medals in the third super-sprint effort.
The only down-sides from the weekend were that Amelie Kretz had to pull out of the race during Friday’s qualifier due to injury and Jeremy Briand missed the final by just one spot, taking 11th in Friday’s repechage.
Coming off a huge gold-medal performance in Tokyo, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy would continue her winning ways and move to the top of the WTCS standings. In the final race Duffy showed her swimming prowess by coming out of the water in the lead with Britain’s Sophie Coldwell, with American Taylor Spivey and Germany’s Laura Lindemann not far behind. Shortly after the transition, though, all 10 found themselves together. Another American, Taylor Knibb, had been powering through the bike leg all weekend, and she did that once again, creating an opening along with Duffy and Spivey. It was Spivey who led into the second transition, but Duffy and Knibb got back up to her quickly. At the start of the second lap Duffy blasted away to take the win, with Knibb managing to outkick Spivey for second. American Katie Zaferes would take fourth, nine-seconds behind.
“It was incredibly brutal but it was really nice to do something different,” Duffy said after the race. “I have never done this style of racing. I think for me and where I am at with my career, to do something new that makes me nervous and unsure is quite nice and kept things interesting and exciting. As the rounds went on I started to feel better and better, I certainly felt a heck of a lot better than yesterday, that was such a shock to the system. I haven’t done much since the Olympics so that opened my body up and today I felt pretty strong and tried to be as tactical as possible in the first few rounds. Taylor Knibb is riding incredibly well right now. She is so strong. I took advantage of that. Her tactic was to go hard on the bike, I didn’t know whether she was as comfortable on the run so I definitely took advantage of that and owe her a lot for that. On the last 2km I just gave it everything. This is actually my first WTCS win since 2018 so it feels good to be on top of this podium.”
You can see full results here.
Coninx leads French podium sweep
It was a huge day for France on Saturday as the three men who represented the country at the Olympics swept the podium. As he had done all weekend Vincent Luis blasted through the swim in the final race followed by New Zealand’s Tayler Reid. Eventually all 10 men got together on the bike, setting up a footrace for the medals. It was Coninx who led the way across the line, with Luis managing to outsprint Leo Bergere for silver. Marten Van Riel would end up fourth with Spain’s Antonio Serrat Seoane taking fifth.
“It was a very hard weekend,” Coninx said. “It’s crazy but it’s nice. I like when it’s fast, I like this racing. It’s very nice to be on the podium with Vincent and Leo, all French. it’s a good feeling. I knew before racing that 2km running is good for me but, you know, three times is much different than once! I think luckily it was a very busy bike and at the end I didn’t know exactly how many were in the group. When Leo passed me I thought, this is going to be tough, but then it flattened a bit so I could catch his feet. At the end it was about giving everything and I just didn’t think at all.”
You can see the full results here.
USA takes mixed relay
Despite the podium sweep in the men’s race, pre-race favourite Team France would pull out of today’s mixed team relay. While Canada didn’t have any of its Tokyo relay team in attendance, it did field a young team that included early swim leader Kira Gupta-Baltazar, who led the women out of the water for the first leg.
It wasn’t long, though, before a big group formed with one notable exception – Australia’s Emma Jackson was off the back – and arrived at the first transition setting up for a speedy run. New Zealand’s Nicole Van Der Kaay led American Taylor Spivey through the end of the run with Italy’s Beatrice Mallozzi right with them. Gupta-Baltazar would fade during the run and tag off to Brock Hoel 27 seconds behind the Kiwis.
It wasn’t long into the second leg that it became apparent that it was going to be a three-way battle for the medals as Seth Rider (USA), Dylan McCullough (NZL) and Gianluca Pozzatti (ITA) would continue to open up ground on the rest of the field. Rider would open up a bit of a gap and hand off to Kirsten Kasper.
Italy’s Alice Betto would hammer on the bike, though, and tow Kiwi Ainsley Thorpe up to the front, recreating the group of three. Betto would continue her charge and put Italy’s Alessandro Fabian in front starting the final leg, just ahead of Saxon Morgan (NZL) and American Chase McQueen, who made most of the nine-second gap on the two ahead thanks to a super-fast sprint down the ramp and an impressive dive. Canadian Emy Legault would take the third leg for Canada, handing off to Jeremy Briand.
The lead three hit the final transition together, but McQueen blasted out on the ruyn ahead and would never look back, giving the Americans the win. Morgan would put New Zealand in second, with Fabian bringing the Italians home in third. Germany’s Jonas Schomburg was able to make a bit of a dent in a 30-second deficit, bringing Germany across the line in fourth, with Switzerland and Australian taking fifth and sixth, while Canada would eventually cross the line in eighth.
You can see the full results here.