By Chelsea White on 21/08/18 at 5:58 pm
After six races in six different cities across the globe, the time has finally come for the penultimate event of the 2018 World Triathlon Series. Continuing the journey in Canada, the season returns for the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series Montreal race for only the second time, after first debuting on the WTS calendar just last year in 2017. Hosting the fourth Olympic-distance race of the year, the elites will tackle a course that guides them on a tour of the historic streets of the Old Port of Montreal in an effort to gain as many points as possible before the Grand Final in Gold Coast next month.
The women’s season has been an exciting and diverse one as four different women have shared the top of the podium in only six races, two of which won a WTS event for the very first time. Now that there are only two events left in 2018, the tight race for the World Championship title is closer than ever.
Entering Montreal, USA’s Katie Zaferes once again will line up as the Series leader. She currently stands at 4170 points, exactly 591 points ahead of Brit Vicky Holland. Montreal will be a crucial race for the American however as she needs to finish sixth or better in order to increase her points total, which given the fact that Zaferes has yet to claim a WTS gold this season, every point is beneficial. However, winning a race is not necessarily mandatory for earning a World Championship. In 2010, Aussie Emma Moffatt was crowned World Champion despite never winning a race in the regular season, so Zaferes’ consistency of finishing in the top six in every race she has completed could be the strategy to grant her the World Title.
Holland then will be the woman wanting to push Zaferes out of the running this weekend. Currently second in the overall rankings, she needs to finish at least fourth in Montreal with ideally Zaferes not making it in the top six to go into the Grand Final in the Gold Coast as the Series leader. Otherwise, Holland needs to keep her sights on making the podium, with Zaferes finishing at least two spots behind her as another route to becoming the new Leader.
This has been a comeback season for Holland as she has won two WTS races this season, in Leeds and most recently in Edmonton, collecting her first WTS golds since 2015.
Montreal debuted as a WTS host city just last year in 2017, where Aussie Ashleigh Gentle became the venue’s first Champion. She returns this Saturday to reclaim her throne while also hoping to snag her first WTS win of the year. Gentle continues to be one of the strongest runners in the field, however she has found herself chasing on the bike, which has made it hard to get in the right position for the podium. However, in Edmonton she turned it around stepped onto her first podium of the season by finishing second. She’ll want to carry that momentum into Montreal.
Rachel Klamer (NED) is the only other woman to have won a WTS race this season who marks the start list this weekend. She has raced in every single individual event in the WTS this year and has finished in the top 12 every single time, which has aided her being third overall in the rankings. Another strong finish could set her up well going into the Grand Final, with a shot of making the Series podium.
Also chasing for a final spot on the Series podium is USA’s Kirsten Kasper, Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR). All three women are only separated by 269 points and just short of Klamer’s position on the leaderboard. A top finish this Saturday in Montreal could result in some changes.
The rest of the Montreal start list is stacked with potential that could create a super dynamic and entertaining race day this Saturday. Top swimmers such as Summer Cook (USA), Maya Kingma (NED) will suit up. Unbeatable cyclists like Alice Betto (ITA), Jodie Stimpson (GBR), Lotte Miller (NOR), Taylor Knibb (USA) and Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) will be pushing the pace undoubtedly in the lead pack. And swift runners such as Nicola Spirig (SUI), Taylor Spivey (USA) and Ai Ueda (JPN) will speed through the 10km course to the finish.
The women will kick off the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Montreal event on Saturday, August 25 at 13:30 local time. The men will follow the next day on Sunday, August 26 with also a 13:30 start time. You can keep up with all the #WTSMontreal action by watching LIVE on triathlonlive.tv and along with social media updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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