Mola, Duffy Secure WTS Edmonton, Claims 4th Win of ITU Season

by Chelsea White/ITU Media

Women’s Elite

The 2017 season seems to be the perfect one for Bermudian Flora Duffy, who claimed her fourth victory in a row in the World Triathlon series, after winning by a close margin in the Sprint race in Edmonton. The now leader of the series, Flora, was joined on the podium by young American Tayler Knibb and fellow compatriot Katie Zaferes.

“It was pretty spot on, so thank you, Edmonton”, said Duffy after her victory. “Taylor (Knibbb) is riding super strong at the moment, I have been in a breakaway with her before, in Montreal last year, We worked together really well, but she was so strong I thought she might be running really strong too, so I attacked her on the last hill to get a little buffer”.

With a sunny and warm day in Edmonton, 33 women dive in the water for a 750m swim that was lead since the very first strokes by Spaniard Carolina Routier. She was joined after the first buoy by American Summer Cook and Brazilian Vanessa Lopes, and the three of them led the pack out of the water.

But they were closely followed by an impressive American army in the water, with Kirsten Kasper, Katie Zaferes, Taylor Spivey and Tayler Knibb were among the first few athletes out of the water as well as Flora Duffy, all with a super fast swim under nine minutes.

When it came to the bike, only a few Americans were able to follow the hard push of the Bermudian on the new bike course – Kasper, Zaferes and Knibb. The hill at the middle of each lap was enough for Duffy to break away with Knibb, the young American, only 19 years old and on her third WTS race of her career, pushed hard to relive the race in 2016 and opened a gap with Kasper and Zaferes, which at the end of the two laps was 18 seconds.

But with three laps to go, both Americans were chased by the big pursuing group, and Duffy and Knibb’s difference was more than a minute, enough to allow them a bit of relaxation before transition. When the bike looked almost done, Duffy did another great push on the bell lap, enough to allow her to make it to the transition alone, with 12 seconds over Knibb. Behind them, at a minute and a half, the big chase group with some of the greatest runners of the circuit.

So when it all came to the 5km run, Flora just kept her rhythm to secure herself the victory, the fourth of the season and the sixth of her career.

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Behind her, and astonishing Knibb, who managed to cross the finish line second to get her first ever WTS podium. In third, after a hard battle with Summer Cook, was Katie Zaferes, with the fastest run of the day.

With her fourth victory this season, Duffy leads now the Series with 3200 points, with Zaferes in second place with 3192.

“I’ve tried to be consistent over the last year. I’ve tried to minimize getting injured and just stay consistent in my training. I have to give a lot to my coaches”, said Duffy.

“I just tried to follow Flora and it worked alright”, said Knibb. ““On the run I just wanted to hold my own. To be on the podium on a race like this, on a WTS race, is simply amazing”.

After her third place today, Zaferes said: “I knew this was gonna be tough, but it was even harder than what I expected. I was pretty close to Flora and Tayler on the first kilometers, but on the first hill I got trapped. When Flora is riding you need to be with her any second or you will loose her. And the bike had a hill, but the run had my own hill too, with the battle with Summer Cook. I just kept telling myself be strong, be strong… and I made it”.

Men’s Elite

furious sprint in the last kilometer gave Spaniard Mario Mola his fourth victory of the season after claiming gold in the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton. Second place was for Australian Jake Birthwisthle, while South African Richard Murray claimed bronze.

The race started with Slovakian Richard Varga leading the 750m swim, exactly the way he’s been doing it over the last 30 WTS races he has started.

Only a couple of seconds behind him, a.strong group of swimmers followed, with Jonathan Brownlee, Aaron Royle and Ben Kanute included. And almost 20 seconds behind, the Spanish trio along with some.of the other contendants in Edmonton, such as Richard Murray or Jake Birthwisthle.

And with all of them grouped in transition, in a matter of seconds a large group of more than 20 athletes was formed on the lead, and stood the same for the 20 km of the new bike course, including a terrific hill on each lap.

Continuous lead changes ended up with all of them arriving together to the transition once more, with all to be decided on the run.

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The flat 5km was once more when Mola showed that he is the one to beat this season. Even though this time he was close to be beaten by his training mate, Birthwisthle, who flew past him with two laps to go.

Maybe a bit early, enough for Mola to push hard on the last kilometer and put himself again in first position, to cross the finish line stopping the clock on 54.51, 10 seconds ahead of Birthwisthle, who claimed his third silver medal in his WTS career and showcased the best run of the day. On the battle for bronze, another running specialist, Murray, ended up third, 8 seconds ahead of Jonathan Brownlee.

It was the fourth time Mola raced in Edmonton, a lucky event for him, where he has never been off the podium, even though this was his first win in Edmonton. With his win here, the fourth of the season, Mola leads now the Series Rankings with 3664 points, while Fernando Alarza keeps the second place with 3172. Javier Gomez Noya keeps the third place on the rankings, with 2990 points, followed close by Murray with 2512. With most of the athletes competing again next week in WTS Montreal, the season is hotter than ever.

“I feel fantastic. I did the best I could, I won another sprint distance, so I think I am performing better, doing better on the swim and doing a better performance overall”, said Mola, who has won two sprint races in a row. “I saw Jake moving on the second lapand I thought it was the end of the world, but I could get back to win”, he said.

“I got to the front a bit too early, and suffer for another whole lap, I guess that it was a bit too much”, said Birthwhistle, who literally flew past the leading trio with 3 kilometers to go. “I gave anything I could at the end and managed to keep the second place”.

“It was pretty hot and tough conditions here, but I managed to do the podium, so Edmonton is still a good race for me. It’s my third weekend in a row racing, so I’m pretty happy”, said Murray. “When Jake passed by me I thought wow, he is going to win if he can keep that pace for another lap”.

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