By Chelsea White on 01/09/16 at 5:58 am
As the final WTS stop before the Grand Final in Cozumel, the elite women will duke it out over a sprint distance course to clench precious final points in the race to be named World Champion. Edmonton will enjoy a stocked roster full of speedy women looking to land the overall world title, making the race on Sunday anything but predictable.
Flora Duffy (BER) continues to have one of the strongest seasons of her WTS career, during which she has often led in the Columbia Threadneedle rankings. After just missing out on the podium in the Series openers by finishing fourth in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast, an incredible solo bike ride in Cape Town saw her first third. Since then, she hasn’t stepped down from the WTS podium. Having collected every color of WTS hardware this year, plus a second place finish in Edmonton last year, the odds are in her favor to retain her reign as the woman to beat.
But standing in her way is an army of Brits that could take any medal contention away from the rest of the field.
Her biggest threat to the overall WTS world title is Jodie Stimpson, who is currently second in the WTS rankings after she earned a gold in Abu Dhabi and Gold Coast and then a silver in Cape Town. She is less than 400 points from Duffy in the rankings, so doing well this weekend is crucial for her. While sitting out Rio wasn’t want the dynamic triathlete wanted, she’ll enter Edmonton fresh and well trained, which could work to her favor for the world title.
Stimpson’s compatriot Vicky Holland returns as the reigning Edmonton champion. She withstood wet and cold weather last year to earn the Edmonton title. This year, her results indicate that she has a real chance to keep the win in her name. She earned bronze in Leeds and just recently earned bronze at the Rio Olympics. Conclusion? Look out for this lady.
Coming in fourth place in Rio, was Holland’s best friend Non Stanford. While the two friends were not able to share the Olympic podium together, they could have the chance to share an Edmonton one. Stanford has one WTS win this year, in Cape Town, so she will be edging to get back on top. Neither of the latter two women have much chance of winning the overall world crown, but where they finish in Edmonton could affect who does.
The Brits however are not the only national teams that are going to stir up some action this weekend. The United States has entered a strong showing for this Sunday. Olympians Katie Zaferes and Sarah True will be present, alongside rising stars Kirsten Kasper and Renee Tomlin. Zaferes earned her first WTS gold in Hamburg, proving her prowess over a sprint distance course. While Gwen Jorgensen will sit Edmonton out, she’ll be following the results closely. Sitting third in the Columbia Threadneedle Rankings, Jorgensen is just on the bubble of being able to defend her two consecutive world titles. She’s leaving it all down to the line in Cozumel, which is going to make for one incredible Grand Final.
New Zealand is coming prepared with both Rio Olympians - Andrea Hewitt and Nicky Samuels. Hewitt has stood on two WTS podiums this year in Gold Coast and Yokohama. She also placed seventh in the Olympics, once again showing that she is a consistent threat to the competition. Samuels also just had a strong finish in Rio, with 13th place. A strong cyclist, Samuels was injured much of 2015, but she did finish third in Edmonton in 2014.
Other notable women to look out for this weekend is Rachel Klamer (NED) and Gillian Backhouse (AUS). Klamer earned her first career WTS medal in Hamburg with silver and Backhouse earned the bronze medal in Edmonton last year.
And pulling for the hometown glory will be Canada’s own Paula Findlay. Born and raised right in Edmonton, she has the local advantage that could really motivate her racing this weekend.
The women will get the ITU World Triathlon Edmonton underway at 12:00 on Sunday September 4, while the men will follow at 14:00 local time. Follow all of the action live at triathlonlive.tv and on twitter @triathlonlive. Trifecta is here this year with new features. Create a new login and pick your favourites now at trifecta.usatriathlon.org.
Join the conversation with the hashtags #WTSEdmonton and #CTrankings.
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