Knibb Wins Silver, Zaferes Bronze at ITU World Triathlon Edmonton

By USA Triathlon | July 29, 2017, 5:31 p.m. (ET)

EDMONTON, Canada — Nineteen-year-old Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) became the youngest woman ever to earn a World Triathlon Series podium on Saturday, winning silver in just the third WTS showing of her career. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.) took bronze for her second WTS podium of the season, as Bermuda’s Flora Duffy earned her fourth consecutive WTS victory. 

Athletes covered a hot and hilly sprint-distance course featuring a 750-meter swim, 21-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. 

Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), Vittoria Lopes of Brazil and Knibb were the first three women out of the water, but they were not far separated from the rest of the field. Knibb quickly found Duffy on the bike, and the two worked together to build a gap of more than a minute and a half on the chase group. The two rode together over the majority of the bike course before Duffy went for a solo break on the sixth and final lap. 

As Duffy started out on the run, she had a 12-second gap on Knibb and 1:33 on the rest of the field. Knibb held strong in second position, while Zaferes and Cook battled it out for bronze just ahead of a large chase group. Duffy ultimately crossed the line in 1 hour, 23 minutes, exactly a minute ahead of Knibb. Zaferes pulled away from Cook on the third and final lap of the run, finishing in 1:01:51 for bronze. 

Knibb joins Zaferes, Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) as the fourth American woman to land on the WTS podium this season. 

“This is amazing. I don’t think it’s quite sunken in yet, but it was a great race,” Knibb said. “Flora has been super dominant this year, so (riding with her) is your stretch goal every single race. I just wanted to ride steady, and when she passed me going up the hill, I felt like the gap had already formed and I would be better just holding my own at that point.” 

“I knew this course was going to be tough, but it was even harder than I anticipated,” Zaferes said. “I was pretty close to Taylor and Flora in the beginning, and right at that first hill on the bike I got dropped hard, so it made for a pretty tough race. You just don’t have any time to be off your game when Flora’s riding. The bike had a hill, but the run had a hill too. I just kept telling myself, ‘Be strong, be strong, be strong,’ and thankfully on that last lap I found another gear and was able to hold Summer off.” 

The U.S. women had a spectacular day as a group, placing five athletes in the top 10. Cook was just 12 seconds back from Zaferes in fourth, while Kasper and Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.) took ninth and 10th, respectively. 

Spivey was just behind Burns in 11th, and Erin Storie (Colorado Springs, Colo.) came through in 29th. 

With her victory, Duffy overtakes Zaferes as the overall WTS season leader with 3,200 points. Zaferes is now second in the rankings with 3,192 points, followed by Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) with 2,677. 

In the men’s race, Spain’s Mario Mola collected his fourth consecutive WTS victory. Jacob Birtwhistle of Australia turned in a silver-medal performance, and Richard Murray of South Africa rounded out the podium in third. 

The men stayed in a close pack on the swim, with Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.), Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.) and Eric Lagerstrom (Portland, Ore.) all exiting the water in the top 20. A group of nine pulled away early on the bike and Kanute went on a solo break for several minutes, but ultimately the chase group reeled him back in. 

As the athletes approached the second transition, they had formed back into a large group — leaving the advantage to the fastest runners in the field. 

Mola, Murray, Javier Gomez Noya of Spain and Jonny Brownlee of Great Britain pulled away almost immediately on the run. While Gomez gradually fell off the pace, Australia's Birtwhistle was making up ground on the other three. He miscalculated the number of laps on the run, however, and started his sprint too early. After initially heading down the finishing chute, he had to jump over the barriers to correct course. Ultimately, it was Mola who broke the tape in 54:51. Birtwhistle was able to hang on for second in 55:01, and Murray crossed five seconds later in 55:06. 

McDowell recorded a top-20 5k, leading the U.S. men with a 17th-place finish in 56:08. Kanute was not far behind, coming through in 56:29 for 22nd. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) and Lagerstrom finished within four seconds of each other in 26th, 27th and 28th respectively. 

The men’s WTS season rankings continue to be led by three Spaniards: Mola in first with 3,664 points, Fernando Alarza in second with 3,172, and Gomez Noya in third with 2,990. 

The ITU World Triathlon Series continues next weekend with an Olympic-distance race (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) in Montreal, the seventh of nine WTS stops this season. 

ITU World Triathlon Edmonton
750m swim, 21k bike, 5k run

Elite Women – Complete Results

1. Flora Duffy (BER), 1:00:22
2. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:01:22
3. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), 1:01:51

U.S. Finishers
2. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 1:01:22
3. Katie Zaferes (Hampstead, Md.), 1:01:51
4. Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), 1:02:03
9. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 1:02:42
10. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 1:02:54
11. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 1:03:14
29. Erin Storie (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:07:22
Sarah Alexander (Shaker Heights, Ohio), DNF (lap)

Elite Men – Complete Results
1. Mario Mola (ESP), 54:51
2. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS), 55:01
3. Richard Murray (RSA), 55:06

U.S. Finishers
17. Kevin McDowell (Geneva, Ill.), 56:08
22. Ben Kanute (Geneva, Ill.), 56:29
26. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.), 56:49
27. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 56:49
28. Eric Lagerstrom (Portland, Ore.), 56:52
Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), DNF

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).