Potts and snowsill win in Edmonton.
The wind came blustering into Edmonton but it did not slow down the ITU World Cup competitors. The sun tried hard to poke out from behind the clouds all day and by the end of the men’s race the sun was shining brightly.
Barb Lindquist of the USA, making her final appearance at the Edmonton ITU World Cup led through the entire swim and easily captured the ITU swim prime. A group of eight maintained contact with Linquist incuding Suzanne Weckend, Kathy Tremblay and Christine Jeffries from Canada, Emma Snowsill of Australia and Annabel Luxford of Australia, Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff of the United States of America and Caroline Kearney of Ireland.
The American trio of Lindquist, Bennett and Groff were first to enter transition to the bike followed by the others and soon formed a tight group of eight at the front. Becky Lavelle of the United States of America just missed the pack and fell back into the chase group that included Kiyomi Niwata of Japan, Marianna Ohata of Brazil and Tara Ross and Genevieve Pellerin both of Canada. Caroline Kearney could not hold onto the first pack and soon dropped back to this group.
By the end of the first lap, Snowsill, Luxford, Joanna Zeiger of the United States of America, Bennett and Lindquist dropped the other three who were swallowed up by the chase group led by Becky Lavelle. Laura Bennett sprinted ahead at the end of the second lap to win the first ITU bike prime and then fell back to the group to lead at the front.
Bennett repeated the performance on the fifth lap to win the second ITU bike prime. The chase group never got organized and by the second transition were 1:20 behind the leaders. Laura Bennett was first out onto the run course followed by Luxford, Snowsill, Lindquist and Zeiger. Becky Lavelle was first onto the run from the chase group followed by Samantha McGlone of Canada and Kiyomi Niwata.
By the end of the first lap on the run, Snowsill had pulled away from the leaders but was not able to run away from Luxford who stayed within 13 seconds until halfway when she slipped further behind.
Zeiger and Bennett slipped further back but remained in third and fourth place. Barb Lindquist ran strong enough to hang onto fifth place.
A tremendously powerful field of men featured the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Champions, the current World Champion and the ITU World Ranked #1. Spectators were able to witness a return to World Cup racing by Craig Walton of Australia, one of the best all-time swim-cycle specialists in the sport. Walton proved to be in good form as he led through the entire swim course winning the first of three ITU primes that he would win. With Andy Potts of the USA clinging to his heels, World Ranked #1 Hunter Kemper led the chase pack with Courtney Atkinson of Australia, Matt Reed of USA, Greg Bennett of Australia, Marko Albert of Estonia and 2004 Olympic Champion from New Zealand, Hamish Carter.
Walton exited the swim first but was passed by Atkinson and Potts in the transition as the trio got away on the six lap bike course. Kemper joined forces with Bennett, Albert, Reed, Bryce Quirk of Australia, Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand, and Joe Umphenour of USA to form a strong chase pack. The second chase pack of about 14, twenty seconds back, was led by 2000 Olympic Champion Simon Whitfield of Canada, World Champion Bevan Docherty of New Zealand, Ivan Vassiliev of Russia, Peter Croes of Belgium and David Dellow of Australia.
Walton pulled Potts increasing their advantage on each lap which included Walton winning the ITU bike primes in lap two and five. Despite good effort from the two chase packs Walton was able to create a 1:45 gap and powered his way through the final bike course until the sharp hairpin turn at the top of Emily Murphy hill where he clipped his pedal and came off his bike, leaving some flesh behind. The brief episode did not deter the duo and they arrived at transition with the 1:45 lead intact.
Kemper was the first to emerge from the chase pack in hot pursuit of the leaders, followed by Bennett, Quirk, Reed and Carter. The second chase pack led by Whitfield was a further 40 seconds, followed by Vassiliev and Croes.
Andy Potts and Walton ran shoulder to shoulder on the first of three laps on the run. By the 4 km mark, Potts started to pull away from Walton and never looked back. Kemper closed in on the leaders followed by Reed, Carter, Docherty and Bennett. Potts did what he was never able to do before, which was to maintain a pace at the front that the formidable runners following him were not able to match. Despite a charging Kemper, Potts held onto to win with a time of 1:46:32. Kemper caught Walton on the last lap and Reed forced him off the podium in the final kilometers as Greg Bennett wrapped up the top five.
Related Event: 2005 Edmonton ITU Triathlon World Cup
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