Two days, six super-sprint races, one new Olympic Champion and only one winner: the women’s World Triathlon Championship Series Montreal gets underway this weekend and in a brand new, high octane format.
The Series returns to Montreal’s city-centre course for a fifth year, only this time trimmed back to a 300m swim, 3-lap/7.2km bike and 2-lap/2km run. Friday will see two qualification races from which 10 athletes will progress, along with a further 10 from the subsequent repechage. Those 30 will then start Saturday’s final round, in which a total of three super-sprints will decide the champion: the final 10 finishers will be cut after the first, the same number after the second, leaving 10 athletes to battle it out for gold.
Tactics will be key, saving energy for as long as possible without risking elimination. The rest times between Saturday’s final races will be under 20 minutes and the points towards the 2021 World Championship will be crucial. You can watch all the action on TriathlonLive from 11.15am local time / 16.15 BST.
Qualification race one
With the qualifier line-ups determined by alternating current ranking position and the Series leader Maya Kingma not racing, the new Olympic Champion Flora Duffy (BER) leads the line in race one. Duffy was back with a bang at WTCS Leeds in June and delivered a magical run for gold in Tokyo, but faces a very different kind of challenge in Montreal as she pursues a record-equalling third women’s world title.
Duffy will line up with Team USA’s Olympic silver medallists Katie Zaferes and Taylor Knibb fresh from their relay success over a similar distance in Tokyo, as is France’s Leonie Periault. It was Zaferes who delivered the fastest women’s leg in that Mixed Relay, while Knibb was fastest on the bike that day and Periault second only to teammate Cassandre Beaugrand over the 2km run.
Non Stanford goes out in race one for Great Britain, Verena Steinhauser and rising star Beatrice Mallozzi lining up for the Italians. Amelie Kretz is the sole Canadian to start for the home nation, Natalie van Coevorden returns along with sisters Jaz and Kira Hedgeland for Australia and Niina Kishimoto will want to bounce back from disappointment in Tokyo and get her name on Saturday’s line up.
Qualification race two
After her sparkling bronze at WTCS Leeds and her time in Tokyo as a reserve for Team GB, Sophie Coldwell will be raring to go, and her explosive power should be well suited to the demands of the format. USA’s Taylor Spivey will be equally eager to get back onto the blue carpet and continue her pursuit of a first world title after solid results in Yokohama and Leeds.
Laura Lindemann was second only to Zaferes in her Olympic super-sprint leg for Team Germany as they finished 6th in the Games. It may be her first time racing in Montreal, but she will be prepared for the intense race style and, with a first Series podium within reach, Lindemann will need no further motivation here.
The experienced figures of Emma Jackson (AUS) and Juri Ide (JPN) will want to progress safely without having to negotiate the extra demands of a repechage, Brazil’s Vittoria Lopes is likely to be one of the fastest through the water and Kirsten Kasper’s (USA) run speed could be decisive as all of the 22 athletes in the second qualification race chase those first ten places across the line.
Full start lists can be found here.
Watch all the action on TriathlonLive from 11.15am local time / 16.15 BST