Beth Potter meanwhile secured her first ever WTCS podium finish, resulting in possibly the broadest smile of the day.
The race rewarded precise transition skills as well as tactical ability, both of which Taylor-Brown had in spades as she won the race and extended her World Championship points lead.
Race 1 (30 start, 20 progress)
Thirty women started round one with the aim of finishing inside the top 20 to progress to the next stage.
Diving into the Alexandra Basin for a frantic 300m swim, Sophie Coldwell got straight into the lead and maintained it through to the exit, with Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) and USA’s Summer Rappaport close behind.
After the long run to transition and some precise changes out of swim caps and goggles onto the bikes, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Beth Potter had moved into the top five along with Coldwell and all looked good for the British athletes.
Coldwell was typically strong on the bike and was joined by Norwegian Lotte Miller at the front. However, it was Switzerland’s Cathia Schär who was first to emerge from T2 and start the 2km run.
With the objective simply not to finish in the bottom ten and avoid elimination, a big group formed and stuck together. Beaugrand glided to the front with Taylor-Brown and Potter following.
At the finish, Taylor-Brown was first in 24:23 with Beaugrand and Potter on the same time alongside Italy’s Verena Steinhauser, with Jeanne Lehair right with them. Job done, but there was next to no time to set up for round two.
The main casualty from round one was Rachel Klamer, fourth in Tokyo but eliminated in Montreal. The Dutch woman perhaps paid the price for a sluggish qualification round yesterday and having to come through the repechage.
Race 2 (20 started, 10 qualify for final)
Rappaport and Beaugrand got to the front of the swim and stayed there until the exit. Coldwell was just behind them, but for all of the effort in the swim, the leading positions were as much decided by the 1min40 run to T1 as the 300m swim.
Taylor-Brown took control on the bike and headed a group of nine, with eleven athletes following. Miller helped keep the chasers in the race, narrowing the gap to just six seconds at T2.
Lehair took up the early running, which paid off to keep her in the race as the favourites cranked up the pace on the second lap. They sauntered over the finishing line, glancing at each other, showing their best poker faces in the 30 degree heat with the final ahead.
Taylor-Brown won, this time slightly faster in 24:13. Potter was second and Rappaport third. Beaugrand, Coldwell and Lehair were also safely through. In contrast, those that had been eliminated collapsed to the floor.
Race 3 – The Final
Rappaport was again the fastest swimmer, but the long T1 again rewarded the fastest runners, including Taylor-Brown, Potter and Beaugrand, who set off at pace on the bike.
That trio rode together, motiving each other to get ahead, and they put 16 seconds into the rest of the field. The Brits were slick in transition, stealing time from Beaugrand and Taylor-Brown set off into the lead.
Onto the second of two run laps, Beaugrand passed Potter and started to pray on Taylor-Brown but she ran out of ground. The sight of the blue carpet and the finishing line was more than welcome as Taylor-Brown held on to win.
Claiming victory and extending her World Series lead, Taylor-Brown said: “I seemed to get into it as the races went on. It was just about staying safe for the first two [rounds] and executing the plan for the final leg.”
Beaugrand acknowledged that her main aim towards the end was just to keep Potter behind her. Potter was delighted with her first ever WTCS podium in finishing third.
She said: “I’ve been knocking on the door this season so just to execute today is a dream come true.
“The second round was the most nerve racking, so I just wanted to be safe in that one and have everything to play for in the final round.”
WTCS Montreal 2022 Results
Saturday June 25, 2022 – ELITE WOMEN
300m / 7.2k / 2k
- 1. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) – 24:04
- 2. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) – 24:07
- 3. Beth Potter (GBR) – 24:15
- 4. Alberte Kjær Pedersen (DEN) – 24:25
- 5. Summer Rappaport (USA) – 24:42
- 6. Taylor Spivey (USA) – 24:44
- 7. Sophie Coldwell (GBR) – 24:47
- 8. Jeanne Lehair (TRI) – 24:51
- 9. Djenyfer Arnold (BRA) – 25:11
- 10. Verena Steinhauser (ITA) – 25:25
WTCS Rankings Standings after Montreal
- 1. Georgia Taylor-Brown (GBR) – 3850
- 2. Beth Potter (GBR) – 2673
- 3. Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) – 2602
- 4. Taylor Spivey (USA) – 2506
- 5. Flora Duffy (BER) – 2338