After five WTS runner-up finishes, Ashleigh Gentle of Australia unleashed a dominating run to leave WTS series leader Flora Duffy behind by 23 seconds and take her first career WTS win at Montreal.
Gentle began the day with a 24th best swim which left her 19 seconds behind swim leader Katie Zaferes and just 1 second behind WTS points leader Flora Duffy. After a strategic bike leg which left her 4th into T2 just 1 second behind bike leaders Zaferes and Duffy, Gentle ran out of T2 3 seconds behind run leader Kristen Kasper of the U.S. and took the lead halfway through the first of four 2.5 kilometer run laps.
In a move which proved her decision not to race WTS Edmonton last week was a wise one, Gentle ended the first lap of the run with a 9 seconds advantage on Duffy, Kirsten Kasper of the U.S. and Hewitt, who also benefitted by skipping Edmonton and conserving her energy for Montreal. Halfway through the 10k run, Gentle opened a 20 seconds lead on Duffy, 30 seconds on Hewitt, 39 seconds on Kasper, 57 seconds on home country favorite Joanna Brown, and 31 seconds on Yuko Takahashi and Zaferes. For the final 5k of the run, Gentle showed no signs of weakening and closed out her victory with a race-best 34:39 split which was 18 seconds better than Duffy and 45 seconds better than Hewitt. Gentle finished the Olympic distance event in 1:59:03 with a 23 seconds margin of victory over Duffy and 44 seconds over Hewitt.
Gentle had tears of happiness at the finish. “I have to thank my coach Jamie Turner (who also coaches Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen) because he told me little things to focus on this week rather than results.” Gentle then exclaimed, “I can’t believe it! My first World Triathlon Series win. My first WTS event was the London Olympic test event in 2011 where I finished 11th. Since then there have been a lot of ups and downs and many second places before this win.“
Duffy said she might have been affected by her winning effort one week ago at Edmonton while Gentle and Hewitt came into Montreal fresh. “I think that might be the case. I wasn't my normal self on the bike, and I was hoping for more on the run. I knew my streak would end at some point, so I am very happy with my second place finish today.”
Duffy, who won 8 of her last 10 races before Montreal, including her Grand Final win at Cozumel last year, jumped to the number 1 ranking with her second place finish while last week’s WTS points leader Katie Zaferes fell to 3rd in the rankings with her 9th place finish.
The WTS season rankings now stand at Duffy 1st at 3,940 points, Gentle 2nd at 3,286 points and Zaferes 3rd at 3,192. Andrea Hewitt now stands 4th at 2,971 points and Kristen Kasper of the U.S. stands 5th with 2,834 points.
Tyler Knibb of the U.S., who scored a breakthrough 2nd place finish last week at Edmonton, and who at age 19 became the youngest podium finisher at an ITU race, followed up with a 7th place finish at Montreal, 1:47 behind the winner.
August 5, 2017
S 1.5k / B 40k / R 10k
1. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 1:59:03
2. Flora Duffy (BER) 1:59:26
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 1:59:47
4. Joanna Brown (CAN) 2:00:22
5. Kristen Kasper (USA) 2:00:25
6. Rachel Klamer (NED) 2:00:31
7. Taylor Knibb (USA) 2:00:50
8. Yuko Takahashi (JPN) 2:01:00
9. Katie Zaferes (USA) 2:01:13
10. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 2:01:48
World Triathlon Series points rankings
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 3940
2. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 3286
3. Katie Zaferes (USA) 3192
4. Andrew Hewitt (NZL) 2971
5. Kristen Kasper (USA) 2834
6. Rachel Klamer (NED) 2296
7. Jolanda Annen (SUI) 2122
8. Charlotte McShane (AUS) 2101
9. Gillian Backhouse (AUS) 1993
10. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1858