The World Triathlon Series returns to Canada but this time heads to the east of the country in Montreal. 2017 saw its debut to the WTS circuit, and again the races will be contested over the Olympic distance. The men’s race was won by Javier Gomez (ESP), and Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) took the women’s crown.
The penultimate round of the WTS means that those wanting a good end of season ranking will be looking for a strong performance. Some athletes may have been forced to race due to injuries or DNF's earlier in the season, so we will no doubt see some aggressive racing.
Probably firm favourite heading into the race will be Mario Mola (ESP), out of the six WTS races he has only missed the podium once and it was an impressive 4th place. He has been on the top step of the podium on three of these occasions. Richard Murray (RSA) has been the only athlete to really challenge him on the run. If the Spaniard looks weaker in any way, it's over the Olympic distance, and a lot of athletes will be looking to dethrone the current World Champion leading into the Grand Final in a couple of weeks. The key challengers to Mola along with Murray will be Fernando Alarza (ESP), Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS), and representing HUUB is Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), Tom Bishop (GBR), and returning to racing Henri Schoeman (RSA). Last weekend we also saw HUUB’s Gustav Iden (NOR) win the World Cup in Lausanne, Switzerland beating compatriot Blummenfelt and Jonny Brownlee (GBR). This surely shows he’s in great shape leading into this weekend and could upset the order.
So far we have seen a very open season for the women, with four athletes sharing the wins from just six races! Flora Duffy (BER) has been unable to find her consistent and dominant form of 2017. It is American Katie Zaferes who enters the race as series leader. However, she will be pushed hard by Vicky Holland (GBR) who seems to be getting better with each race and already has two WTS victories to her name. Others to watch out for include Kirsten Kasper (USA), Nicola Spirig (SUI), Rachel Klamer (NED) and Ashleigh Gentle (AUS). HUUB are very well represented with some of the best swimmers and athletes in the sport. Jessica Learmonth (GBR), Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) and Sophie Coldwell (GBR) are all front pack swimmers and have proven they can run away with the race from the go. All three have had standout seasons so far and will be looking to take advantage of a smaller than usual start list and will be hoping for a breakaway where these three will shine.
It is now the time in the season where athletes and coaches start to scrutinise start lists and ranking tables to fathom out placings they need. It is sometimes a mathematical game seeing who will be ranked where going into the Grand Final and with it being worth double points it’s very important that athletes head over to Australia rested and ready to go.