Jonny Brownlee (GBR) delivered a commanding victory on the streets of Edmonton over the weekend, overturning the run of bad luck that has plagued his 2019 season. The double Olympic medallist showed why he is labelled as one of the all-time greats of the sport and certainly an athlete that will contend the medals come Tokyo.
There was double success for Brownlee alongside HUUB's Gordon Benson and Sophie Coldwell, as they and India Lee claimed 2nd in the mixed relay event for Team GB.
Current series leader Vincent Luis (FRA) was first to emerge out of the water, closely followed by Brownlee, Ben Kanute (USA), Matt Hause (AUS), and Marten Van Riel (BEL). The group who are all known for their biking abilities soon established around 20 seconds on the chasing pack, and it initially looked like this would only increase.
The chasing pack had other intentions and with multiple World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP), Mario Mola (ESP), Jelle Geens (BEL), and a few others. They began to match the pace of the early leaders, the gap hovered between 15-20 seconds for the majority of the 20km and going onto the last lap the race was still very open.
Unfortunately a few 100 meters out from T2 disaster struck the chasing pack as numerous athletes came down hard in a crash, ending the race for a few athletes including Gomez and Geens. The remnants of the chase group made it into T2, and Mola led the charge to real in the breakaway group. 20 seconds up the road Hauser led the first 1km but soon faded as Brownlee took the reigns with Van Riel tracking him.
Both in search for their first win of the year and Van Riel looking for his first-ever WTS podium, the pair pushed each other keeping ahead of a resurgent Mola. Eventually, Brownlee would prove the strongest and on the last lap he broke clear leaving Van Riel to be passed by Mola in the final stages of the run.
HUUB's Sophie Coldwell (GBR) was among the first to emerge from the water after the 750m swim. She immediately orchestrated a small break to tackle the 20k bike.
In hot pursuit was a massive chase pack including the likes of Ashleigh Gentle (AUS) and Claire Michel (BEL) with another chase pack slightly further back but still within touching distance. Possibly due to the absence of Jessica Learmonth (GBR) and Katie Zaferes (USA), the initial break seemed to lack horsepower, and they were eventually reeled in meaning the race would be decided on two feet.
Onto the run and it was Gentle who was the first to take charge of the run, but she led a line of strong runners, and by the latter stages of the 5km it was clear the battle for the podium would be between Gentle, Michel, Summer Rappaport (USA) and Emma Jackson (AUS). It wasn't until the final few hundred metres that Jackson surged ahead and took her first WTS win and first WTS podium since 2014, an impressive comeback from an athlete that has battled numerous injuries in recent years. Rappaport and Gentle rounded out the podium. HUUB's Beth Potter (GBR) ran through to finish 14th in her debut WTS, just ahead of Sophie Coldwell.
HUUB's Sophie Coldwell was again among the leaders coming out of the water in leg 1, and along with Team Netherlands and Team USA, the trio forged a 10 second lead to the chasing nations. Coldwell was able to maintain her advantage and hand over to Jonny Brownlee in 1st position. Brownlee paired up with Taylor Reid (NZL) and Seth Rider (USA) and again stretched out the field to put Team GBR in the driving seat. Brownlee again handed over to India Lee (GBR) in first, but she was soon caught and eventually passed by Taylor Knibb (USA) and Nicole Van Der Kaay (NZL).
Going onto the final leg Team New Zealand had the lead through HaydenWilde with HUUB's Gordon Benson (GBR) flying the flag for the British Team alongside Team USA and Team Australia. It was a great swim leg by Benson that brought all three back into contention, and it was still all to play for.
Benson and Wilde managed to get a small gap through T1 and onto the bike, but by T2 only seconds separated the top 4. Unfortunately, a 10 second time penalty put an end to Australia's hopes leaving New Zealand to claim their first title with Great Britain second and Team USA third.