Debut World Cup triumph for Great Britain’s Beth Potter in Spain
How do you like me now?!
In 2019, Rio 2016 10,000m runner-turned-triathlete, Beth Potter, won the ETU Triathlon European Championship in Weert. Such is the depth of the British women’s squad, less than six months later when the Performance Programme athletes were announced for 2020, Potter’s name was absent from the list.
For the recent convert to the sport, potentially, a huge blow to her future prospects. How you react to such challenges can say more about you than any words, and despite the difficulties that 2020 has prevented to everyone, Potter has made the very best of her opportunities and put put her hand up for consideration for those funding discussions moving forward. At just 29, she has time on her side too.
Perhaps more important, today’s victory in Valencia was not a surprise. After what I considered perhaps a career-best performance last month, when second to Flora Duffy in Arzachena, Sardina, I said in my preview that, “With her undoubted pure running ability – she represented Great Britain over 10,000m at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – she could well be relishing the flat and fast parcours this weekend.”
And that was how it happened. The flat, four-lap bike course all but neutralised the race, with the cycling strength of Nicola Spirig (SUI) and Lisa Tertsch (GER), quickly eliminating the gains made by the swim leaders, and ultimately resulting in a group of around 20 descending upon T2 together. Beth looked comfortable within that group, something that I may not have been writing a couple of years ago.
Potter’s positioning within the peloton wasn’t the best on entering T2, but her transition was swift enough that her deficit to the front pack starting the run was minimal. She steadily bridged those few seconds over the first couple of kilometres, and just as the before the return leg of the run, pushed the pace on… and that was it, she was never headed. Calm under pressure and great race execution. The three second winning margin doesn’t reflect her dominance – she was able to enjoy and savour the finishing straight (while behind, an all-out sprint was going down for Silver and Bronze).
While this wasn’t the strongest field of fields in terms of depth, you have to take your chances when you can and race to your strengths – and in that regards, it is difficult to fault Potter today. There are still plenty of British female athletes above Beth in terms of proven results at the top tier of the sport, but if nothing else, with a Silver and Gold in the final two ITU World Cup events of 2020, her name and future prospects will surely have a higher priority, when considering performance athletes for the next Olympic cycle.
That’s exactly the type of ‘problem’ that selectors want to have. Bravo.
Valencia ITU Triathlon World Cup – Saturday 7th November 2020
750m / 20km / 5km
1st – Beth Potter (GBR) – 56:35
2nd – Nicola Spirig (SUI) – 56:38
3rd – Lisa Tertsch (GER) – 56:39
4th – Luisa Baptista (BRA) – 56:40
5th – Beatrice Mallozzi (ITA) – 56:58
6th – Verena Steinhauser (ITA) – 57:03
7th – Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS) – 57:05
8th – Melanie Santos (POR) – 57:10
9th – Anna Godoy Contreras (ESP) – 57:28
10th – Djenyfer Arnold (BRA) – 57:35