MONTREAL, Québec — Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) held onto her No. 1 spot in the overall ITU World Triathlon Series on Saturday, earning silver in the series’ penultimate stop in Montreal behind Great Britain’s Vicky Holland. Zaferes will enter next month’s ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia, with a narrow 34-point lead over Holland, meaning the world title will go to whomever finishes ahead of the other in that race.
The course in Montreal featured an Olympic distance 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. Zaferes exited the water in the top four alongside Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth and Sophie Coldwell, and U.S. teammate Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.).
The foursome formed an early lead pack on the bike, but Cook fell off the pace about 5k in. A 10-woman chase pack, which included Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) and Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), then worked together to catch the leaders before halfway point. That group of 13 remained together for the rest of the bike, leaving the medals to be decided in a running race.
Four British athletes — Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown, Jodie Stimpson and Jessica Learmonth — took off immediately, and a British podium sweep looked likely. But as Holland broke away from the group, Zaferes started to gain ground on the others. She picked off Learmonth first, then Stimpson and Taylor-Brown with about 4.5k to go.
Holland ultimately broke the tape with a time of 1 hour, 59 minutes, 29 seconds, and Zaferes came through 22 seconds later for silver. Taylor-Brown grabbed the third podium spot in 2:00:23.
“I think it was a great run, I felt really good for this entire race,” Zaferes said. “I just kept repeating (the British athletes’) names in my head, so I was going ‘Georgia, Georgia, Georgia’, and then once I caught on to them, it was ‘Vicky, Vicky, Vicky.’ I think I said their names a million times in my brain, but it got me through.”
Spivey had a strong race, matching her season-best finish of seventh in 2:01:40. Knibb placed ninth in 2:02:16, and Burns was 11th in 2:03:03. Other U.S. finishers included Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 18th in 2:05:58, Sophie Chase (Carlsbad, Calif.), 19th in 2:06:34, and Cook, 25th in 2:09:32.
Zaferes has now medaled at five of seven WTS races this season, earning two silvers and three bronzes. Holland has been on the podium four times, but three of those have been gold. The two will face off in Gold Coast on Sept. 15, where the 2018 ITU world champion will be crowned.
Last season, Zaferes entered the Grand Final in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, ranked fourth in the overall series. With a silver-medal performance in Rotterdam, she moved up one spot, concluding the series in third place. Her points total of 4,302 was just 18 back from second-place Ashleigh Gentle of Australia.
“Last year, there were very few points between second and third with Ash, so I’m kind of used to (the pressure) — but I hope to come out on the other side of it this year,” Zaferes said.
Kasper and Spivey are both top-10 in the series rankings, with Kasper in seventh and Spivey just behind her in eighth. To view the complete rankings, visit wts.triathlon.org/rankings/2018.
A CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup was held alongside the WTS on Saturday, and five U.S. athletes earned podium spots. The men’s race saw a U.S. sweep, with Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) taking gold, Robby Webster (Phoenix, Ariz.) silver and Tommy Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) bronze. Australia’s Emma Jackson won the women’s race, followed by Amy Cymerman (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Brittany Warly (Colorado Springs, Colo.) in silver and bronze-medal position, respectively. For complete CAMTRI results, click here.
The action in Montreal continues Sunday with the men’s elite race at 1:30 p.m. ET, featuring U.S. athletes Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) and Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.). The race will be broadcast live at triathlonlive.tv and on NBC’s Olympic Channel.
For more information about ITU World Triathlon Montreal, visit montreal.triathlon.org.
ITU World Triathlon Montreal
1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Elite Women — Complete Results
1. Vicky Holland (GBR), 1:59:29
2. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:59:51
3. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), 2:00:23
2. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 1:59:51
7. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 2:01:40
9. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 2:02:16
11. Chelsea Burns (Seattle, Wash.), 2:03:06
18. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 2:05:58
19. Sophie Chase (Carlsbad, Calif.), 2:06:34
25. Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), 2:09:32
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).