MONTREAL — Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) and Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) finished fifth, seventh and ninth respectively at ITU World Triathlon Montreal on Saturday, marking back-to-back World Triathlon Series races in which at least three U.S. women have placed in the top 10.
A first-time host on the World Triathlon Series circuit, Montreal is the seventh of nine stops on this season’s WTS calendar.
Saturday’s race featured the fourth Olympic-distance course of the WTS season, covering a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. Ashleigh Gentle of Australia took the win to mark her first-ever WTS victory, with Bermuda’s Flora Duffy coming in second and Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand rounding out the podium in third.
Zaferes got a strong start in the swim with a race-leading 18:07 split, giving herself about a 5-second lead on the rest of the field heading into the first transition. She soloed on the bike for a few minutes, but a chase group pulled by Duffy soon caught her up.
A lead pack of about 15 held up for much of the nine-lap bike course, with a few dropping off the back as the riders moved through the technical and narrow downtown streets. The group had tapered off to 11 by the end of the hilly 40k, but still included Kasper, Knibb and Zaferes. With no athlete gaining a clear advantage off the bike, the podium positions would be decided on the run course.
Gentle, Duffy, Hewitt, Kasper and Joanna Brown of Canada moved to the front of the field as they set out on the run, but it was Gentle who had the legs to push the pace. She steadily built a gap over the four-lap, 10k course, recording a race-leading 34:39 split to break the tape in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 4 seconds. Duffy pulled away from the other women to take the silver in 1:59:27, and Hewitt came through 21 seconds later in 1:59:48.
Brown edged Kasper in the final meters to take fourth in 2:00:23, with Kasper just three seconds behind. Knibb and Zaferes came through in seventh (2:00:51) and ninth (2:01:14), respectively. The strong performance from the U.S. women comes after a similar showing in the sprint-distance Edmonton race last weekend, in which five Americans landed in the top 10.
After her second-place finish, Duffy remains the leader in the overall WTS season rankings with 3,940 points. Gentle is now second in the rankings with 3,286 points, while Zaferes is third with 3,192. Hewitt and Kasper round out the top-five in the rankings with 2,971 and 2,834 points, respectively. Visit wts.triathlon.org/rankings/2017 for the complete season rankings to date.
The elite racing continues Sunday in Montreal, as the men hit the start line at 1:36 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast live on triathlonlive.tv, and both races will air on Universal HD from 8-10 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 7. For the complete men’s start list, visit wts.triathlon.org.
ITU World Triathlon Montreal
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Compete Women’s Results
1. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 1:59:04
2. Flora Duffy (BER), 1:59:27
3. Andrea Hewitt (NZL), 1:59:48
5. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 2:00:26
7. Taylor Knibb. (Washington, D.C.), 2:00:51
9. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), 2:01:14
15. Lindsey Jerdonek (Brecksville, Ohio), 2:05:14
Renée Tomlin (Ocean City, N.J.), DNF (lap)
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).