EDMONTON, Alberta — Katie Zaferes continued her hold on the No. 1 world ranking on Friday with a sixth-place finish at the sixth stop of the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Series (WTS), held in Hawrelak Park.
Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.) finished the 750-meter swim, 21-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course in 57 minutes, 30 seconds to finish as the top American on the day. Zaferes has finished within the top six of the five WTS races she has completed this year, giving her 4,170 points in the series with two races to go in 2018.
Great Britain’s Vicky Holland won the women’s race in 56:51, moving her to second in the WTS rankings with 3,579 points. Ashleigh Gentle of Australia claimed the second spot in Friday’s race with a time of 57:02, and Georgia Taylor-Brown of Great Britain took the bronze in 57:08.
The Americans had three women finish in the top 10, with Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.) finishing eighth in 57:38 and Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in 10th with a time of 57:50. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.) and Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.) both finished inside the top 20, as Kasper was 13th in 58:05 and Knibb was 16th in 58:24.
Cook pushed the pace early, leading the field out of the water with a 9:32 split on the 750m swim course, followed closely by Briton Jessica Learmonth and Maya Kingma of The Netherlands.
Once on the bike, a group including Zaferes, Holland, Learmonth and Spivey attempted to keep their distance from the chase group, but Knibb and Gentle charged ahead to merge the two groups. By the mid-point of the six-lap bike course, most of the women’s field was riding together with the 5k run to determine the outcome.
The field splintered early on the run, with Zaferes, Cook, Gentle, Holland, Learmonth, Taylor-Brown and Jodie Stimpson of Great Britain breaking ahead on the first lap to fight for the podium spots. Zaferes and Cook lost touch with the leading quintet on the second of three laps, running strong to hold on to their top-10 finishes. Holland dropped the hammer in the last 700m of the run, posting a 16:41 5k split to clear herself for the victory.
Mario Mola of Spain sprinted to another gold medal in the men’s race, besting the field with a speedy 51:15 for his second consecutive win and fifth season podium on the WTS circuit. Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt challenged Mola all the way to the finish chute, eventually finishing second in 51:18. Australian Jacob Birtwhistle made a surge in the final kilometer of the run to finish third in 51:22. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.) was the top U.S. finisher in 20th, with a time of 52:55, and Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.) was 35th in 54:27.
The men’s race followed a similar formula as the women’s, with attempts to break free from the field proving unsuccessful on the tight and technical bike course. By the second transition, 29 men were bunched together to start the run.
However, the lead men quickly made their move at the start of the 5k, with the eventual podium finishers and the likes of Jonny Brownlee of Great Britain, Vincent Luis of France and Fernando Alarza of Spain vying for a podium spot. Heading into the final lap, Mola and Blummenfelt battled for the top podium spot, with each man taking a turn as the race leader until the final few hundred meters. Then Mola blasted past Blummenfelt to take the tape by a margin of 3 seconds and retain his world No. 1 standing.
The action in Edmonton continues with the final stop of the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay Series on Saturday. The race is slated to begin at 6:04 p.m. ET (4:04 p.m. local time), and a live broadcast will be available at triathlonlive.tv and on NBC’s Olympic Channel. Four-person teams from 23 countries are set to compete, with each athlete completing a 300m swim, 6.6k bike and 1.6k run. Full team rosters will be posted at triathlon.org.
2018 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton
750m swim, 21k bike, 5k run
Elite Women – Complete Results
1. Vicky Holland (GBR), 56:51
2. Ashleigh Gentle (AUS), 57:02
3. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR), 57:08
6. Katie Zaferes (Santa Cruz, Calif.), 57:30
8. Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), 57:38
10. Taylor Spivey (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 57:50
13. Kirsten Kasper (North Andover, Mass.), 58:05
16. Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.), 58:24
Elite Men – Complete Results
1. Mario Mola (ESP), 51:15
2. Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR), 51:18
3. Jacob Birtwhistle (AUS), 51:22
20. Kevin McDowell (Phoenix, Ariz.), 52:55
35. Tony Smoragiewicz (Rapid City, S.D.), 54:27
DNF Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.)
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).