It wasn’t to be five wins out of five for WTS leader Flora Duffy in Montreal, as she has to settle for second place behind Australian Ashleigh Gentle, who wins her first her first ever WTS race. Andrea Hewitt of New Zealand finishes the podium in third place.
It was the first time a WTS race has been held in Montreal and it came just a week after WTS Edmonton where Duffy won her fourth WTS race of the season.
American Katie Zaferes led the swim from the start, followed close by Carolina Routier (ESP) and Emma Jeffcoat (AUS).
Zaferes managed to get a small gap of a couple seconds as she exited the waters, but was chased and caught soon after transition by a group of strong bikers, which included Duffy, Hewitt and Kirsten Kasper.
When it came to the run, Gentle pushed hard from the first metre, being the fastest of the field this season in the Olympic distance, to leave all of the other athletes behind.
Gentle got a lead of nine seconds in the first lap, with only Duffy, Hewitt and Kasper keeping up with the frantic speed on the Montreal streets. With every pacing lap that lead only grew and eventually as she hit the bell it was enough to allow her to cross the finish line, stopping the clock on 1:59:04.
Second to the finish line was Duffy, 23 seconds behind, while Hewitt took third and her 20th podium of her career.
The second place keeps Duffy at the top of the Series leaderboard with 3940 points, while Gentle climbs up to second place with 3286 points, followed by Zaferes with 3192.
After the race, a bursting in tears Gentle said: “I had so many things on my mind coming into this race… I needed to focus on the little things rather than the results, and I did. I made it. It has taken me six years to get on top of the WTS podium, six years of up and downs, a few second places… and I finally made it”.
Duffy was also “very happy for my second place”, but “really happy for Ashleigh. I knew this was gonna come at some point”.
Hewitt said: “I’ve been in this city 10 days training and I think that this has helped me a lot today. I loved the city and the course, and to be back to an Olympic distance race”.