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Pontevedra Championships: One race, so many stories

Can Gwen Jorgensen make it to Paris? Who will take the world title?

Photo by: World Triathlon

Yesterday we had a look at tomorrow’s men’s race at the World Triathlon Championship Finals in Pontevedra, Spain. Now it’s time to look at the women’s race, which has so many interesting options that it’s hard to know what to focus on.

Beth Potter takes the win at WTCS Montreal

Beaugrand vs Potter

While, in theory, there are nine women who are still mathematically in contention for the world title, it seems most likely that France’s Cassandre Beaugrand (3,341 points) and Great Britain’s Beth Potter (3,309 points) are the two most likely to take the championship. Sure, France’s Emma Lombardi (2,946 points) and American Taylor Spivey (2,836 points) are in the running, but they’ll need to win and Beaugrand and Potter to finish sixth or eighth respectively to take the title.

In the end, though, if either Beaugrand or Potter can take the win they’ll guarantee themselves the world title. Potter won the Paris Test Event over Beaugrand, so she’ll arrive in Spain with some all-important confidence that she will be the one to beat.

Olympic qualification

American Taylor Spivey is all smiles as she prepares for WTCS Cagliari. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

It’s not hard to argue that the American women’s team for Paris is going to be the hardest to qualify for, with a who’s who of triathlon’s short-course racing gunning for a spot. Taylor Knibb has nailed her spot already and won’t be racing in Pontevedra, which opens another spot for an American contender.  A podium finish is required at the Pontevedra finals to earn an automatic qualifying spot on the team.

Spivey was left off the Tokyo team for eventual bronze medalist Katie Zaferes, and is currently sitting in third in the standings after an extremely consistent season. She routinely puts herself in the right spot at races, but doesn’t appear to have the running power required to close the deal when it counts. Can she come up big in Pontevedra? Motivation certainly won’t be the limiting factor.

Rappaport was the first American to qualify for Tokyo thanks to a fifth-place finish at the Tokyo Test Event. A great swimmer and runner, if she can be in the mix off the bike she’s certainly a podium contender. Kirsten Kasper was another who was in the mix for the Tokyo team who has been working hard for her Olympic chance. Gina Sereno is another of the collegiate runners that USA Triathlon has done a great job of recruiting to the sport, but is probably one to watch for Los Angeles in 2028 vs Paris in 2024. Erika Ackerlund is another American on the list, but it’s hard to imagine she’ll be contending for the podium.

Jorgensen’s impressive streak, Zaferes in the mix

Gwen Jorgensen (left) exits the water at WTCS Cagliari

If you were standing on the beach at World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) Cagliari when Gwen Jorgensen was one of the last out of the water, it seemed as though the 2016 Rio gold medalists dreams of Olympic qualification were misguided. Fast forward a few months and Jorgensen heads into the Finals with two big World Cup wins (Karlovy Vary and Valencia) under her belt in the last month. Both wins came over the Olympic distance, too, making her chances over the same distance in Pontevedra even better.

Katie Zaferes returned to racing after having her first child last year and is sitting 17th in the world standings. The Tokyo bronze medalist is looking for a spot on her third Olympic team. Like Jorgensen, she’s been steadily improving all year long, and certainly has the experience to put herself in contention for a podium finish this weekend.

There’s just one Canadian in the women’s field, Dominika Jamnicky.

You can see the full start list here.

How to watch

You can follow the action live on TriathlonLive.TV starting at 10:29 EST.