With WTS runaway points leader Katie Zaferes of the U.S. and top British points performers Jessica Learmonth (2nd), Georgia Taylor-Brown (3rd) and Non Stanford (5th) taking a rest before the upcoming Tokyo Olympic preview event and the WTS Grand Final in Lausanne at the end of August, the sprint distance WTS Edmonton was a wide open affair.
At the end of a 750 meter swim in Hawrelak Lake, five laps of the 22 kilometer bike leg and a 5 kilometer run, Australian Emma Jackson unleashed a race-best 16:37 run split to outsprint Summer Rappaport of the U.S. by 2 seconds and Aussie Ashleigh Gentle by 4 seconds to fill out the podium.
Claire Michel of Belgium took 4th, 15 seconds behind the winner, and Taylor Spivey of the U.S. took 5th, 9 seconds behind Michel.
Taylor Knibb of the U.S., who took a promising 4th place at the season opener at WTS Abu Dhabi, was charging toward the front on the bike when she ran into mechanical problems and faded back to the second pack. Knibb, who took a breakthrough 2nd place to Flora Duffy at this race two years ago, finished 21st.
Jackson, who had been off form and out of contention due to injury until she tallied a promising 7th place at WTS Montreal at the end of June, finished in 1:01:23 with a 2-seconds margin on Rappaport, who ran 16:39.
Jackson said she was not surprised as she had shown signs of a gradual return to her top form.
“I've had some good runs at Montreal and Hamburg,” she told ITU media. “And I had been in the front packs on the bike so I could see what I’m capable of.” Jackson added: “But if you asked me a month ago, I guess today was quite unbelievable.”
Rappaport, coming off a 2nd place at WTS Yokohama and 3rd at WTS Montreal, was not surprised either. “I was coming in with a little bit more confidence,” said Rappaport. “After Yokohama and Hamburg, I was pretty confident if I executed well.”
Rappaport said she was striving to maintain this consistency. “A lot of people will be getting ready for the test event and then Lausanne for the Grand Final. I want to keep doing what I am doing and take it to the next level.”
Gentle, who won the 2018 WTS Grand Final and placed second at this race last year, was coming off a disappointing 2019 season that included 10th at Abu Dhabi, 26th at Bermuda, a DNF at Yokohama and 21st at WTS Montreal.
“It has been a tough year for me psychologically and physically and it makes it even better with Emma winning,” said Gentle. “It’s funny. I said to Emma, 'We have been doing this for 14 years why do we keep doing this to ourselves?' But while there have been hard times, when you cross the line on top it is really worth it.”
Gentle said she was not surprised to see Jackson sprinting past her at the finish. “I have been racing triathlon with Emma for 14 years and before that we used to run at school,” she added. “Emma has been fighting injuries for some time but I definitely know what she is capable of and it is not so much of a surprise.”
As expected there was little change in the season long WTS women’s standings, although Rappaport advanced from 8th to 6th place in the points chase.
WTS Edmonton – Women
July 20, 2019
S 750m / B 22k / R 5k
Elite Women Results
1. Emma Jackson (AUS) 1:01:23
2. Summer Rappaport (USA) 1:01:25
3. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) 1:01:27
4. Claire Michel (BEL) 1:01:38
5. Taylor Spivey (USA) 1:01:47
6. Lisa Perterer (AUT) 1:01:51
7. Jaz Hedgeland (AUS) 1:01:55
8. Jolanda Annen (SUI) 1:02:04
9. Nicole Van der Kaay (NZL) 1:02:05
10. Kelly Ann Perkins (AUS) 1:02:09
18. Tamara Gorman (USA) 1:03:19
21. Taylor Knibb (USA) 1:03:43
DNF Chelsea Burns (USA)
WTS Points Rankings
1. Katie Zaferes (USA) 4925
2. Jessica Learmonth (GBR) 4170
3. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) 4121
4. Taylor Spivey (USA) 3981
5. Non Stanford (GBR) 3435
6. Summer Rappaport (USA) 3201
7. Rachel Klamer (NED) 2597
8. Joanna Brown (CAN) 2318
9. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) 2189
10. Claire Michel (BEL) 2117