The World Triathlon Series headed to Edmonton this weekend and coupled alongside it was an ITU World Paratriathlon Series event. Jonny Brownlee was back for redemption against a stellar field after his DNS at Hamburg. Flora Duffy was headlining the women's race and a looking to reclaim her World number one spot. For the paratriathletes Edmonton provided an opportunity to measure themselves up against likely contenders for the World Championships in Rotterdam later in the year. After this weekend, it would be heads down for many of them in order to peak for the biggest race of the year.
Similar to Hamburg WTS, all eyes were on Duffy, a change to the bike course looked to favour the 'uber' swim-biker. HUUB's Vittoria Lopes continued her fine form in the water, leading out with Knibb and Cook of the USA, Duffy followed shortly and it looked like it would be a repeat of Leeds and Hamburg. With the likes of Jessica Learmonth, Lucy Hall and HUUB's Sophie Coldwell absent it was unclear as to whether anyone would be able to hang onto the wheel of Duffy. However it was the young American; Taylor Knibb that put the power down early on in the bike and forged away with the Bermudan. The pair amounted a near unassailable lead and the chase group were left to compete for the final podium spot. If Duffy was considered just a swim-bike specialist then she proved she was one of the best runners as well. She only lost 7 seconds to USA's Zaferes and recorded the third quickest run of the day. Knibb held onto second place and Zaferes was the best of the rest. This was Duffy's fourth win in a row and with a winning margin of one minute she beat her previous record from Hamburg.
The mens race followed shortly and it was the Varga of old that lead the way, a sight we have become very used to. Ensconced within the lead pack was Brownlee, Luis, Royle and perhaps ten others. It looked very promising for Jonny with key contenders like Gomez, Mola, Murray, Alarza and Birtwhistle missing. With a gap opening to 18 seconds it looked like things were going Jonny's way, however the chase was relentless and by the end of the bike nearly the whole field was amassed in one group. After Mola's dominant run in Hamburg he was the favourite as everyone left T2. Jonny was a bit of an unknown, but his palmares alone shows he can deliver on any day. In the end it turned out that only the Australian Birtwhistle could challenge Mola finishing ten seconds behind his training partner. Another of Joel Filliol's athletes, Richard Murray rounded out the podium with Jonny Brownlee close behind. HUUB's Grant Sheldon finished 10th, showing promising form after a difficult couple of months for the Scottish Commonwealth athlete.
In the Paratriathlon event HUUB was well represented including long time HUUB ambassadors, George Peasgood, Ryan (Ryno) Taylor, Joe Townsend and Lauren Steadman. George continued his impressive season finishing in 2nd in the PTS5 category, what was even more impressive is that only the weekend before George was crowned National TT Champion! Joe achieved his first ever WPS medal, finishing 2nd in the PTWC category. Lauren also matched this in the PTS5 category after only a couple of months back training after Rio 2016. After a DNF in the previous WPS event in Italy, Ryan Taylor put things to right and won his PTS3 category! Things are certainly looking very good for World Champs in September!