Heading in to the WTCS Montreal weekend, Georgia Taylor-Brown admitted she didn’t think she would be top of the rankings at this stage of the season. She completed her first experience of the blue carpet elimination format with a dazzling gold, coming through the intense heat and racing triumphant.
It had been a huge effort in rising temperatures, but it was Taylor-Brown who broke away on the final bike leg with Beth Potter (GBR) and Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) for company, and it became a chase for the podium positions, WTCS Leeds champion Beaugrand able to pass Potter late on to take silver.
“It’s not easy when you’re at the front and it’s not fun if you’re silent so just talking to each other and trying to motivate Cass (Beaugrand) and Beth (Potter) today and it paid off. It was about staying safe for the first two and emptying the tank on the final leg.”
It was Sophie Coldwell (GBR) who was fastest off the line at the horn, but unable to carve out any significant daylight through the water as the field emerged with only 20 seconds from first to last. Coldwell led from Beaugrand, Summer Rappaport, Djenyfer Arnold (BRA) and Natalie Van Coevorden (AUS), the unlucky Claire Michel injured on the run uphill and her challenge was over.
The pack stayed as one for the duration of the 3-lap bike, Beaugrand content to wait patiently at the back confident of calling on her pace on the run when needed. Taylor Spivey and Lotte Miller pressed towards transition and strung things out a little, Cathia Schar with a late burst to hit the run shoes first.
Rappaport had some ground to make up and Beaugrand had a poor T2, but they were soon moving their way into the safety of the top 20, Jeanne Lehair and Alberte Pedersen going well so that at the bell, 21 athletes were together.
The one who couldn’t make it through was Rachel Klamer, devastated at the line as Lotte Miller (NOR) became the final name on the sheet for the finals.
Race two saw Beaugrand and Rappaport first out of the water, Van Coevorden having to work hard to chase down the leaders and try to get onto the ten athletes ahead of her into transition.
After the first lap, it was eleven riding together and they had a 15-second advantage over the chasers at the bell, but by the time transition came back into view the pace had dropped at the front and the athletes came together.
Lehair was now able to deploy her run and there were ten athletes out front with the final in their sights, Arnold trying to close the gap on Van Coevorden.
It was a successful chase for the Brazilian, too, passing her rival on the final lap to take the tenth and final spot on the ultimate start line, along with Verena Steinhauser, Lehair, Coldwell, Spivey, Rappaport, Pedersen, Potter, Beaugrand and Taylor-Brown.
It was again Beaugrand and Rappaport spearheading the swim in the final race, Taylor Brown right with them, Coldwell this time somewhat off the pace.
Taylor-Brown, Potter and Beaugrand immediately pulled away on the opening kilometre of bike, while Pedersen had a brilliant transition to make the second pack and catch Spivey and Rappaport.
Spivey and Coldwell were riding well but there was no catching the front three, who extended their lead from 7 to 15 seconds by the time they hit the final transition.
Taylor-Brown hit the pace with Potter, Beaugrand again with a slow transition, but she was able to close in on Potter and pass the Brit at the end of lap one. There was no gaining on the leader, though, and Georgia Taylor-Brown was able to maintain her advantage right to the line, Beaugrand holding on for silver from Potter, Pedersen with a brilliant run to fourth ahead of Rappaport.
It was another imperious, controlled display from Georgia Taylor-Brown as she extended her lead at the top of the Maurice Lacroix Series Rankings to over 1,000 points and again became the woman everyone wants to catch in 2022.